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24 Aug, 2018 15:13

Saudi-led strike in Yemeni city of Hodeidah kills at least 26, mostly children – local media

Saudi-led strike in Yemeni city of Hodeidah kills at least 26, mostly children – local media

At least 26 people, mostly children, have been killed in a Saudi-led airstrike in Yemen’s coastal town of Hodeidah, local media report. The strike reportedly targeted people as they fled the besieged al-Duraihimi district.

The strike in al-Duraihimi, which lies some 20km from the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, claimed the lives of at least 22 children and four women, according to local TV channel AlMasirah. Saba news agency, however, puts the death toll at 31.

The head of Hodeidah's health office said the group had picked up an old truck after an airstrike on Wednesday.

“There were 27 in the car; most of them were children and all of them were killed by the airstrike, in addition to four people who were killed on Wednesday night inside their house,” Dr Abdul-Rahman Jar Allah said, the Middle East Eye reports.

The Red Sea port of Hodeidah has been under siege from Saudi-led forces trying to recapture the city from Houthi rebels since June. Civilians remain trapped in the city and aid groups are reportedly unable to enter Hodeidah, prompting civilians to appeal to international organizations to open a safe passage for them to escape. The UN has previously warned the Saudi military campaign in the area could end up killing as many as 250,000 civilians.

“No one can enter Duraihimi to help civilians but the ICRC and they have not entered it yet, so civilians risk their lives to flee the city or relieve wounded,” GarAllah told MEE.

The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a brutal military campaign in Yemen since March 2015, in an attempt to restore toppled president Hadi to power. Three years of Saudi-led bombardment and a blockade of Yemen has led to a catastrophic situation in the country, with 22 million people, or 80 percent of the population, in need of humanitarian aid, while more than half of the country is left without basic medical services. Human rights organizations have been accusing the coalition of indiscriminately shelling civilians and infrastructure.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 5,500 people and over 9,000 have been injured as of the end of 2017, according to the United Nations. It has been has labelled the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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