Dozens killed in ‘Saudi’ strikes on funeral in Yemen434 views
Rebels in control of Yemen’s capital accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting them of killing dozens of people Saturday and wounding hundreds more in air strikes on a funeral attended by senior officials.
The strikes came as Saudi Arabia, which has overseen the bombing of Huthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015, is under increasing international scrutiny over alleged civilian deaths in its air raids.
Officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in Sanaa said at least 450 people were killed or wounded in the air strikes, although there was no immediate independent confirmation of the figure.
Emergency workers pulled out at least 20 charred remains and body parts from the gutted building while others scoured the wreckage in search for survivors, an AFP photographer at the scene said.
The corpses were either completely burned or in pieces, and some of the wounded had their legs torn off and were being treated on the spot by volunteers, he said.
The insurgent-controlled news site sabanews.net said that coalition planes hit a building in southern Sanaa where hundreds had gathered to mourn the death of the father of a prominent local official.
The Huthis did not say if the official — rebel interior minister Jalal al-Rowaishan — was present in the building at the time of the attack which they dubbed a “massacre” nor did they indicate if other senior figures were attending the funeral.
Rebel Almasirah television said Sanaa mayor Abdel Qader Hilal was among those killed.
People had come from all over Sanaa to attend the funeral, said Mulatif al-Mojani, who witnessed the air strikes.
“A plane fired a missile and minutes later another plane pounded” the building had gathered, he told AFP.
Another witness, who declined to give his name, described the attack as “war crime”.
“This was a funeral for one man in Sanaa and now it has turned into a funeral for tens of Yemenis,” he said.
A security source, quoted by the rebel website, said a fire tore through the building after the strikes.
– Call to protest –
The Iran-backed Huthis swept into Sanaa in September 2014 and advanced across much of Yemen, forcing the internationally recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee Sanaa.
More than 6,700 people — most of them civilians — have been killed in Yemen since the coalition intervened in support of Hadi, according to the United Nations.
Ambulance sirens blared as they transported the wounded away and residents said local hospitals had issued an appeal for blood donations.
The so-called supreme political council set up by the Huthis and their allies — supporters of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh — urged the Yemenis to stage a protest Sunday outside UN offices in Sanaa to protest against “war crimes” committed by the Saudi-led coaliton.
The coalition has come under mounting international criticism in recent months over the civilian death toll in its aerial campaign.
A UN report in August said coalition air strikes are suspected of causing around half of all civilian deaths in Yemen.
It called for an independent international body to investigate an array of serious violations by all sides, after 4,000 civilians have been killed.
The coalition has told AFP it uses highly accurate laser- and GPS-guided weapons and verifies targets many times to avoid civilian casualties.
At dawn a suspected Saudi-led raid on a house near Bajil, in the Red Sea province of Hodeida, killed four civilian members of the same family, a local official said.
In addition to the mounting death toll, Yemenis are facing twin health and hunger crises.
The UN’s children agency UNICEF estimates that three million people are in need of immediate food supplies, while 1.5 million children suffer malnutrition.
UNICEF said Friday that cases of cholera had been reported in Sanaa and third city Taez, calling on the international community to fund medical aid efforts. – AFP
Courtesy: Daily Mail