Saudi coalition airstrike killed dozens of...
At least 50 people have been killed and 77 injured in northern Yemen after a Saudi coalition airstrike hit a bus thought to be carrying children to school, the Red Cross has said. The attack on the Houthi-rebel controlled area of Dahyan early on Thursday morning overwhelmed local health facilities, said Abdul-Ghani Nayeb, a health department chief in Saada province.
A video from Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV shows several boys who appear to have lost their limbs. Two or more wounded children are seen sharing a single hospital bed, and one child -- soaked in blood -- screams as he is being treated at a health center. In another video, which appears to show the immediate aftermath of the strike, several children's bodies lie under a blown-up bus. Some boys are seen regaining consciousness, their faces bloodied and limbs charred.
The attack came a week after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a busy fish market and the entrance to the country's largest hospital, Al-Thawra, in the port city of Hodeidah, killing 55 civilians and wounding 170 others.
Col. Turki al-Malki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the airstrike that hit the bus was aimed at a "legitimate target." “No, this is not children in the bus," he said. "We do have high standard measures for targeting.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an independent investigation into the air strike in Yemen. Condemning the attack, Guterres called for "an independent and prompt investigation" into the incident. In the statement, Guterres added that all parties must "respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack."
The Head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also strongly condemned the incident and urged the warring parties and international community "to do what’s right for children and bring an end to this conflict".“Attacks on children are absolutely unacceptable,” she said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Twitter. “I’m horrified by the reported airstrike on innocent children, some with UNICEF backpacks. Enough is enough.”
The war in Yemen is now the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people -- three-quarters of the population -- in desperate need of aid and protection, the UN says. The UN’s human rights office estimates at least 16,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s three-year-old civil war – many of them by coalition airstrikes. Britain, the US and other Western countries have been heavily criticised for increasing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the past few years, shipments which campaigners say are destined for use in the complex conflict.