Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Agence France-Presse & Business Day Live & Carlo Angerer / NBC News – 2015-08-21 00:45:06
Saudi Airstrike Hits Yemen
Neighborhood, Killing 17 Civilians
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 20, 2015) — Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are facing yet another round of condemnation today after an airstrike against northern Yemen’s Amran Province killed 17 civilians, including 13 teachers and four children. 20 other civilians were wounded in the strike.
The attack hit a building which houses the teachers union offices for the region, and staff were preparing make-up exams for students who had missed final exams because of the ongoing Saudi war. The children at the site were the children of teachers, who were playing outside when the strike hit.
Officials say the building also held an office of the General People’s Congress Party, a political party that has supported the Shi’ite Houthis against whom the Saudis are at war. Witnesses claimed there was a meeting at that office as well, though the strike appears to have hit the teachers more directly. Unconfirmed reports have emerged of five Houthis were killed in the same attack.
The large civilian toll follows Saudi warplanes destroying the port at Hodeida earlier this week, a primary route through which humanitarian aid was reaching northern Yemen. That too sparked condemnation from aid groups, and today the European Union also blasted the move.
Saudi Arabia and its allies are conducting a naval blockade of Yemen, a nation which imports 90% of its food, almost entirely by sea. They have limited shipments of humanitarian goods to select ports, and from select shippers, and the destruction of Hodeida’s port suggests that they intend to further cut off aid to the north, now that their allies are restricted to the southern port city of Aden and the surrounding area.
Saudi-led Yemen Raid
‘Kills 13 Teaching Staff, Four Children’
SANAA (August 20, 2015) – A Saudi-led coalition air strike killed 13 teaching staff and four children in northern Yemen, in a raid apparently targeting Shiite rebels, medics and witnesses said Thursday. UNICEF condemned what it called Tuesday’s “senseless bloodshed” in Amran province that it said killed 17 civilians and also injured 20 other people.
Saudi Arabia has led an air war against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies in neighbouring Yemen since March 26. Five Huthis were also killed in the strike, according to medical sources who gave the same civilian death toll of 17 including four children.
The raid hit a building housing offices for a teachers’ union as well as the pro-rebel General People’s Congress party during a meeting of Huthi militiamen, witnesses said.
The civilian victims have “paid a most terrible price in the continuing conflict in Yemen”, UNICEF said. “The educators were gathered together to prepare exams for thousands of children who had missed the end of their school year because of this brutal conflict,” the agency said.
“Working after hours, they had brought their children with them. Some of whom were playing outside when the bomb exploded,” it said. “A selfless activity turned in a moment into senseless bloodshed.”
Nearly 400 children have been killed and over 600 others injured in the past four months, according to UNICEF.
The United Nations says the war in Yemen has killed a total nearly 4,500 people, many of them civilians.
On Wednesday, the top UN aid official strongly criticised Saudi-led air strikes on the Yemeni port of Hodeida, a lifeline for imports of food, medicine and fuel. “These attacks are in clear contravention of international humanitarian law and are unacceptable,” Stephen O’Brien told the United Nations Security Council.
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