Up to 51 feared killed in Saudi-led airstrike at Yemeni wedding

A Houthi militant stands outside al-Nour mosque in Yemen's capital Sanaa October 7, 2015 © Mohamed al-Sayaghi
Up to 51 civilians are said to have been killed and up to 40 wounded in two Saudi-led airstrikes that hit a wedding party in Yemen hosted by a tribal leader, who is an alleged supporter of Houthi rebels. It was the second wedding targeted in two weeks.

The death toll from the airstrike, which hit the wedding in the Yemeni town of Sanban, varies in different reports, ranging from 13 up to 51.

Initially, AFP reported that 13 people had been killed and 28 wounded, but now Spanish EFE and Chinese Xinhua news agencies say that 26 civilians lost their lives and 38 were wounded, citing medical sources at the hospital in the neighboring city of Dhamar.

German DPA reports that up to 51 people, including three brides and two grooms, were killed and up to 40 wounded in the airstrike, citing officials in the Yemeni Health ministry.

The strikes hit the tribal leader’s home in Sanban, located southeast of the capital, Sanaa, in Dhamar province, AP reported citing officials and witnesses.

The house reportedly belonged to Muhammed al-Sanabani, the Khaleej Post said. Three of Sanabani’s sons were to be married off on Wednesday evening. The strikes hit the house as the brides were arriving at the ceremony, according to witnesses.

The strikes came after Yemeni government forces, with the help of the Saudi-led coalition, were able to capture the Shiite Houthi rebels’ outpost in Marib province, taking over the town of Sirwah, a Yemeni military official, Colonel Ayed al-Moradi, said.

Meanwhile, the UN said on Wednesday that the Houthis had accepted a Security Council resolution calling for an end to the fighting. A UN special envoy was travelling to get a response from the other side at the time of the strike. 

The hit on the wedding comes just a day after Saudi-led coalition helicopters reportedly killed more than 30 people, mainly civilians, in a northern Yemeni village.

READ MORE: 135 civilians killed in alleged coalition airstrike on Yemen wedding 

The strike was the second to hit a wedding in Yemen in just over a week. On September 28, 135 civilians were killed at a wedding party in an apparent Saudi airstrike, marking the deadliest single bombing in Yemen’s civil war.

The Saudi-led campaign has been receiving a lot of criticism over civilian deaths as of late. A total of 1,100 civilians have been killed in the campaign in the last six months, according to the UN. 

The Saudi-led coalition launched its anti-Houthi campaign in March of 2015 in response to the “Ansar Allah” Houthi movement capturing large territories of Yemen, including Sanaa, the capital, and Aden, the country’s second largest city.

Moreover, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said in its latest report that 505 children have been killed, and 702 more injured in the half-year of violence in Yemen, while 1.7 million youths are at risk of suffering malnutrition amidst the humanitarian crisis. 

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