Ye­me­nis protest deadly Saudi-led at­tack on hall

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES NATION & WORLD - By Ahmed Al-Haj

SANAA, Ye­men — Thou­sands of Ye­me­nis marched in the cap­i­tal Sun­day to protest a Saudi-led coali­tion airstrike a day ear­lier that hit a funeral hall packed with hun­dreds of mourn­ers, killing more than 140 peo­ple.

The ca­su­alty toll, given by a United Na­tions of­fi­cial, also men­tioned over 525 wounded in what was one of the dead­li­est sin­gle at­tacks of the coun­try’s civil war.

The rebel- con­trolled Health Min­istry gave a lower fig­ure, say­ing that 115 bod­ies had been counted but that the num­ber will likely rise be­cause “charred re­mains” were still be­ing iden­ti­fied. Of the 600 wounded it tal­lied, it said many cases were se­ri­ous and at least 300 would need treat­ment abroad.

Some of the demon­stra­tors who marched out­side the U.N. build­ing in south­ern Sanaa blamed the or­ga­ni­za­tion for not putting an end to the con­flict and urged an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Some pro­test­ers bran­dished au­to­matic weapons, and rebel sup­port­ers in the crowd called on peo­ple from the re­gion to rise up and at­tack Saudi Ara­bia.

The Saudi mil­i­tary an­nounced early Sun­day it would launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “re­ports about the re­gret­table and painful bomb­ing” in Sanaa, with­out ac­knowl­edg­ing that its coali­tion bat­tling rebels in Ye­men is the only force with air power in the con­flict.

It is the lat­est in a string of bomb­ings by the coali­tion that have struck hos­pi­tals, mar­kets and other places where civil­ians con­gre­gate.

“The place has been turned into a lake of blood,” said one res­cuer, Mu­rad Taw­fiq.

Yemeni of­fi­cials said the dead and wounded in­cluded mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity of­fi­cials from the ranks of the Shi­ite Houthis rebels and their al­lies, loy­al­ists of f ormer Pres­i­dent Ali Ab­dul­lah Saleh.

Houthi leader Ab­delMalek al-Houthi de­cried the at­tacks in a tele­vised ad­dress, say­ing that they had been done with U.S. weapons and with a “green light” from Washington.

Saleh also took to state TV to call on cit­i­zens to head to the Saudi bor­der and at­tack sol­diers there to avenge the deaths. The rebel al­liance is bat­tling the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Abed Rabbo Man­sour Hadi.

Sat­ur­day’s funeral was held for Sheikh Ali alRaw­is­han, the fa­ther of Galal al-Raw­is­han, the in­te­rior min­is­ter in the re­belled gov­ern­ment.

Among those killed was Maj. Gen. Ab­dul- Qader Hi­lal, the head of the cap­i­tal’s lo­cal coun­cil, of­fi­cials said, while Galal al-Rawi shan was se­ri­ously wounded.

Mo­hammed Ab­dul-Salam, the Houthi spokesman in Sanaa, de­nounced the airstrike as the lat­est act of “geno­cide” by the Saudi-led coali­tion.

“The si­lence of the United Na­tions and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is the mu­ni­tion of the mur­der­ers,” he said. “Those mur­der­ers will not es­cape di­vine jus­tice.”

YAHYA ARHAB/EPA

Ye­me­nis shout anti-Saudi Ara­bia slo­gans Sun­day in Sanaa, the cap­i­tal. A Saudi-led coali­tion airstrike Sat­ur­day killed more than 140 peo­ple and in­jured hun­dreds at a funeral hall.

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