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August 10, 2018

39 Yemenis, mostly children, killed in coalition attack

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August 10, 2018

SANAA: A Saudi-led coalition battling in Yemen said it carried out an attack in the rebel-held north on Thursday that the Red Cross said hit a bus carrying children, leaving dozens of people dead or wounded.

The coalition called the strike a “legitimate military action” that targeted Houthi rebels responsible for a deadly missile attack on the Saudi city of Jizan on Wednesday. But the International Committee of the Red Cross said the strike hit a bus filled with children, causing dozens of casualties.

“Following an attack this morning on a bus driving children in Dahyan Market, northern Saada, (an ICRC-supported) hospital has received dozens of dead and wounded,” the organisation said on Twitter without giving more details. “Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict,” the ICRC added. The Houthi rebels´ Al-Masirah TV reported that 39 people had been killed and 51 wounded, “mostly children”.

It was not possible to independently verify the toll. “Does the world really need more innocent children´s lives to stop the cruel war on children in Yemen?” the UN children´s agency asked. Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF´s regional director in the Middle East and North Africa, said all the children on the bus were “reportedly under the age of 15”. No Excuses any more!” the agency said.

The coalition, which also includes the United Arab Emirates, intervened in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government after the rebels drove it out of the capital Sanaa. Saudi Arabia shot down a missile fired by the Houthis on Wednesday, with debris killing a Yemeni man and wounding 11 others, the coalition said.

The missile was fired from the rebel-held Yemeni province of Amran towards Jizan, the coalition said. “The coalition will take all necessary measures against the terrorist, criminal acts of the Houthi militia, such as recruiting child soldiers, throwing them in battlefields and using them as tools,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said, referring to Thursday’s attack. The Houthis have in recent months ramped up missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh usually says it intercepts.

Wednesday´s attack brings the tally to 165 rebel missiles launched since 2015, according to the coalition, which that year joined the Yemeni government´s fight against Houthi rebels. On August 2, attacks on a hospital and a fish market in the strategic rebel-held port city of Hodeida killed at least 55 civilians and wounded 170, according to the ICRC.

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