KIDS AMONG FATALITIES
“All parties must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations.”
SANAA — An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels hit a bus driving in a busy market in northern Yemen on Thursday, killing at least 50 people, including 29 children and wounding 77, Yemen’s rebel-run Al Masirah TV said, citing rebel Health Ministry figures.
The Saudi-led coalition, meanwhile, said it targeted the rebels, known as Houthis, who had fired a missile at the kingdom’s south on Wednesday, killing one person who was a Yemeni resident in the area.
Al Masirah TV aired dramatic images of wounded children, their clothes and schoolbags covered with blood as they lay on hospital stretchers. The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Twitter that its team at an ICRC supported hospital in Saada received the bodies of 29 children, all under 15 years old. It also received 48 wounded people, including 30 children, it said.
The attack took place in the Dahyan market in Saada province, a Houthi stronghold. The province lies along the border with Saudi Arabia. The bus was ferrying local civilians, including many children, according to Yemeni tribal leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
There was no breakdown in the casualties and it was not immediately clear how many of the victims were on the bus itself and how many were pedestrians in the immediate area around it. It was also unclear if there were other airstrikes in the area.
Col. Turki al-Malki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the attack in Saada targeted the rebels who had fired a missile at the kingdom’s south, killing one person and wounding 11 others. The coalition said Wednesday’s projectile, fired toward the southwestern Saudi city of Jizan, was intercepted and destroyed but its fragments caused the casualties.
The Washington and the United Nations urged an “independent and prompt” probe into a strike, calling “on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, through his spokesman, said in a statement that “all parties must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations.”
He also reiterated his call “for a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue as the only way to end the conflict.”
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said the US was “concerned” by reports of an attack resulting in civilian deaths.
“We are calling the Saudi led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident,” she said.
AFP and AP