US-backed Saudi Air Strike on Market Kills 26 in Yemen

March 16th, 2017 - by admin

– 2017-03-16 13:04:26

Air Strike Kills 26 in Yemen: Medics, Military Sources
Agence France-Presse

ADEN (March 10, 2017) — An air strike by a Saudi-led Arab coalition on a market in Yemen killed 20 civilians and six rebels on Friday, medical and military sources said.

The aircraft tried to target rebels at a roadblock on the southern outskirts of the Red Sea port of Khokha, but the fighters fled to a market where they were attacked, the sources said.

The raid took place at the entrance to the market that sells the mild narcotic leaf qat, which is very popular among Yemeni men. A military source close to Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said that by fleeing to the market, the rebels had used civilians as “human shields”.

The rebel television channel Al-Masirah also reported the air strike, but give a slightly higher toll of 27 killed and said dozens more were wounded.

The Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling Shiite Huthi rebels opposed to Hadi, was not immediately available for comment.

The Arab force has come under repeated criticism over civilian casualties in Yemen. In December, it acknowledged that it had made “limited use” of British-made cluster bombs but said it had stopped using them.

On Thursday, Amnesty International accused the coalition of using banned Brazilian-manufactured cluster munitions in raids on residential areas in northern Saada province, a Shiite stronghold.

In mid-February, a coalition air strike killed eight women and a child at a funeral reception near the rebel-held Yemeni capital, Sanaa. Meanwhile, the rebel news agency reported Friday that a coalition boat hit a mine off the coast of Yemen’s historic port of Mokha on Thursday and exploded, causing casualties.

Pro-Hadi forces took Mokha from the insurgents on February 10 and said they aimed to push north to retake the country’s main Red Sea port of Hodeida next.

On Monday, at least 16 Huthis were killed in a coalition air strike northeast of Hodeida and 23 others were wounded, medical and military sources said. Khokha is south of Hodeida.

The conflict in Yemen has left more than 7,400 people dead and 40,000 wounded since the coalition intervened on the government’s side in March 2015, the United Nations says.

Saudi Airstrike Kills 26, Mostly Civilians, in Yemen Market
Jason Ditz /

(March 10, 2017) — Adding to the ever-growing civilian death toll as Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen enters its third year, warplanes carried out an airstrike against a marketplace, killing 26 people, 20 of them identified as civilians, in the Red Sea port of Khokha.

Saudi military officials said the intention [was] to attack a Houthi roadblock near the market, but when warplanes started looming overhead the guards scattered, with some running into the marketplace. The decision then was to just attack the market, hoping to get some of them.

This has led to the official narrative among the Saudis that the Houthis are using civilians as “human shields,” though clearly would be a bad tactic in this war, since the Saudis have killed far more civilians than Houthis in the first place, and any gathering of Shi’ite civilians seems to invite airstrikes.

Khokha is a small part immediately south of Hodeidah, the main port through which humanitarian aid flows into northern Yemen. Hodeidah’s port infrastructure has been regularly bombed over the course of the war, limiting aid access into the Houthi parts of the country.

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