Saudi-led airstrikes kill up to 41 people, including 30 civilians in Yemen (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Up to 41 people have been killed, including 30 civilians, and scores injured after a small hotel near a Houthi rebel checkpoint collapsed Wednesday following an overnight Saudi-led aerial bombardment, reports the AP, citing Yemeni officials.
The coalition carried out multiple airstrikes in Yemen overnight killing both Shiite Houthi rebels and civilians, according to unnamed Yemeni officials, cited by the AP.
At least 30 of the casualties were civilians, according to local news source Al Masirah.
Pictures from the scene in the aftermath of the bombing show two bodies hanging from the top story of the ruined hotel in the Arhab area, some 20km (13 miles) north of the capital Sanaa.
Commenting on the reports of civilian casualties, the Saudi-led coalition said it was targeting a “legitimate military high-value target in Arhab District” and that the target was properly vetted for an attack.
“The targeting process has been carried out in accordance with Customary International Humanitarian Law with relation to targeting and the coalitions' rules of engagement, confirming that the ones who perished were members of an armed renegade group positioned in the airport square,” spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki said in a statement.
The air campaign against the Houthi rebels has intensified in recent months with the total number of airstrikes in 2017 reaching 5,676, compared to 3,936 for all 2016, according to a report by the Protection Cluster in Yemen led by the UNHCR.
The report did not attribute responsibility for the airstrikes but the Saudi-led coalition has maintained air superiority in Yemeni airspace since the outbreak of civil war in March 2015.
At least 10,000 people have died since the outbreak of the civil war between the Houthis, who control northern Yemen, including Sanaa, and the internationally-recognized government, led by Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi.
“The killing and maiming of children remained the most prevalent violation” of children’s rights in Yemen, according to a leaked 41-page UN paper, as cited by FP.
“In the reporting period, attacks carried out by air were the cause of over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 children killed and 333 children injured.”
The damning report, scheduled to be published next month, has yet to receive official endorsement from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Saudi-led coalition strikes resulted in hundreds of Yemeni children being killed or maimed - leaked UN report https://t.co/oT1kkszeyy— RT (@RT_com) August 20, 2017
Despite the collateral damage, western governments continue to supply Saudi Arabia with arms. US President Donald Trump approved a $350 billion dollar arms deal with the Saudis in May, which will take effect over the next 10 years.
While the UK has approved over £3.3 billion (US$4.1 billion) of arms deals with the Kingdom between March 2015 and February 2017, according to activist group Campaign Against The Arms Trade (CAAT).
Despite widespread condemnation from both the UN and the Red Cross, the Saudi-led aerial bombardment and naval blockade has created a three-pronged humanitarian disaster in the country, pushing 17 million people to the brink of starvation, generating the world’s fastest-growing cholera epidemic and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.