23 civilians killed in suspected Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen – report

23 civilians killed in suspected Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen – report
At least 23 civilians, including six children, were “mistakenly” killed in Yemen in a suspected Saudi-led coalition airstrike, according to media reports.

A vehicle carrying civilians, including women and children, was struck in a suspected airstrike in the Yemeni town of Mawzaa, southwest of Taiz, on Wednesday, AFP reports.

An unnamed coalition military source confirmed the raid on the Houthi rebel-held area, claiming that the civilian casualties were the result of a “mistake.”

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At least six children were killed in the incident, while the bodies of six other victims were charred beyond recognition, the Houthi rebel-controlled Saba news agency reported.

There was no immediate response available from the Saudi-led coalition.

The Saudi-led coalition began a bombing campaign in Yemen to support the ousted president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in March 2015. The campaign has made little to no military progress against the Houthi rebels and remnants of the country’s military loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but has resulted in over 10,000 civilian deaths, according to UN estimates.

Coalition planes have repeatedly struck civilian targets in Yemen. Few such attacks have been acknowledged by the coalition, which has labeled them “mistakes” due to “bad intelligence.” One of the deadliest attacks occurred in the capital Sanaa last October, when over 140 people attending a funeral ceremony died and over 500 were injured. In March 2016, a raid on a market in northern Yemen killed 97 people. 

The coalition has also imposed a strict air and naval blockade on Yemen, which has drastically worsened the humanitarian situation in the war-torn country. Millions of Yemenis are suffering from food shortages and starving. The UN says 17 million people in Yemen are at imminent risk of famine, while dwindling medical supplies and lack of trained medical personnel have led to epidemics.

Leading humanitarian organizations, including the Red Cross, have named the aerial bombing campaign and blockade the main causes behind the ongoing cholera epidemic in Sanaa that has already claimed some 200 lives, while over 11,000 cases of the disease have been registered.