Dozens of civilians, mostly children, have been killed and more wounded in an airstrike by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that hit a bus in the rebel-held north of the country.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one of the few humanitarian institutions helping civilians on the ground in the war-torn country, said a hospital supported by the organisation had received dozens of casualties after the attack at a market in Dahyanin Sa’ada governorate.
“Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict,” the organisation tweeted. Johannes Bruwer, head of delegation for the ICRC in Yemen, tweeted: “Scores killed, even more injured, most under the age of 10.”
It was not possible to confirm the death toll, but Abdul-Ghani Nayeb, a health department chief in Sa’ada, said 43 were killed and at least 61 injured, according to Reuters. Houthi-controlled Almasirah television broadcast unverified footage of dead and bloodied children being transferred to a hospital. Children are seen screaming as they are treated by medical teams.
The UN children's agency Unicef said it was "very concerned with the initial reports of children being killed”.
In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi-led coalition called the strike a "legitimate military action" that targeted elements responsible for a Houthi missile attack on the Saudi city of Jizan on Wednesday. “[The airstrikes] conformed to international and humanitarian laws,” the statement said. It also accused the Iran-aligned Houthis of using children as human shields.
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