Scores killed in air strikes on Ye­men funeral

The Myanmar Times - - World -

MORE than 140 peo­ple were killed and more than 525 wounded when air strikes hit a funeral cer­e­mony in Ye­men, a United Na­tions of­fi­cial said, with Huthi rebels blam­ing the at­tack on the Saudi-led coali­tion.

The coali­tion, which has come un­der in­creas­ing scru­tiny over al­leged civil­ian deaths, de­nied any re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Oc­to­ber 8 at­tack.

“The toll is very high: more than 520 wounded and more than 100 martyrs,” the spokesper­son of the health min­istry in Sanaa, Tamim al-Shami, told rebel Al­masirah tele­vi­sion.

It was one of the dead­li­est at­tacks since the coali­tion launched a bomb­ing cam­paign against the Shi­ite Huthis in March 2015.

Riyadh’s key ally Wash­ing­ton promptly warned it had launched an “im­me­di­ate re­view” of sup­port to the Saudi-led coali­tion, and that its se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion with Saudi Ara­bia was “not a blank check”.

The UN hu­man­i­tar­ian co­or­di­na­tor in Ye­men, Jamie McGoldrick, said aid work­ers were “shocked and out­raged” by the at­tacks that hit a com­mu­nity hall in the cap­i­tal Sanaa where mourn­ers had gath­ered.

He called for an im­me­di­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must ex­ert pres­sure to en­sure civil­ians are pro­tected.

In Septem­ber 2015, a sus­pected coali­tion air strike killed at least 131 civil­ians at a wed­ding near the Red Sea city of Mokha. The Saudi-led al­liance also de­nied any in­volve­ment then.

And in March this year, Saudiled air strikes on a mar­ket killed at least 119 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 106 civil­ians, of which 24 were chil­dren, in the north­ern rebel-held prov­ince of Ha­jja.

On Oc­to­ber 8, emer­gency work­ers pulled out at least 20 charred re­mains and body parts from the gut­ted build­ing in south­ern Sanaa as oth­ers scoured the wreck­age for sur­vivors.

Some of the wounded had their legs torn off and were be­ing treated on the spot by vol­un­teers, he said.

In a state­ment to AFP, the Saudi-led coali­tion said it had no op­er­a­tions at the lo­ca­tion and “other causes” for the in­ci­dent must be con­sid­ered.

The in­sur­gent con­trolled news site sa­banews.net said coali­tion planes hit after hun­dreds had gath­ered to mourn the death of the fa­ther of rebel in­te­rior min­is­ter Jalal al-Rowais­han and de­nounced the “mas­sacre”.

The at­tack could fur­ther sour al­ready strained US-Saudi ties.

“We are deeply dis­turbed by the air strike which con­tin­ues the trou­bling se­ries of at­tacks strik­ing Ye­meni civil­ians,” White House spokesper­son Ned Price said. –

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