Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Al Jazeera – 2017-06-19 01:11:03
Strikes Hit Crowded Marketplace in Shi’ite Northern Yemen
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(June 18, 2017) — Saudi warplanes have attacked northern Yemen’s Sadaa Province, the Shi’ite-dominated home of the Houthi movement, hitting a crowded marketplace in the Shada District, killing at least 25 civilians and wounding an unknown number of others.
This is the latest in a series of Saudi airstrikes against Yemen over the past two-plus years that hit civilian targets, with such incidents killing thousands of people and fueling international criticism of growing human rights violations and outright war crimes.
Saudi officials have not offered a statement on this latest attack yet, which is not unusual as they tend only to offer statements in the rare cases that media coverage starts to get uncomfortable heavy. Even then, the statement tends to be a blanket denial that anything ever happened.
It is such civilian casualties, however, that have also fueled growing opposition to US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and over the past week such a vote just narrowly failed in the US Senate. As the killing continues, future efforts to curb the sales in Congress are likely to continue to get even stronger.
While Muslims worldwide celebrate Ramadan with special meals and tasty treats, millions of Yemenis are facing starvation.
Saudi Coalition Strikes on Saada Market Kill Dozens
At least 25 Yemeni civilians have been killed by Saudi-led coalition air strike on a market in the northern Saada province, according to a local health official.
The director of the Houthi-run health department office in Saada said the aircraft conducted two raids on al-Mashnaq market in Shada district close to the Saudi border on Saturday.
“Rescue teams were unable to reach the area for some time for fear of being hit by artillery shelling of the area,” the official, Dr Abdelilah al-Azzi, told Reuters news agency by telephone on Sunday.
Several Yemeni online news outlets carried similar reports of the bombing in Saada, which sits directly along the Saudi border.
Officials from the Saudi-led coalition could not immediately be reached for a comment on the report.
A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes in the impoverished country for more than two years against Houthi rebels, who control vast swathes of the country.
The country has since been plunged into a civil war in which the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, is trying to roll back gains made by the Iran-aligned Houthi group that controls most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.
In March, a Saudi-led coalition air strike killed 22 people and wounded dozens when it struck a market in western Yemen near the Red Sea fishing town of Khoukha.
Khoukha and the nearby city of Hodeidah are controlled by the Houthis who overran Sanaa in 2014 and moved south to Aden in 2015 forcing Hadi and his administration to flee into exile. Saudi-led coalition wrested back the control of Aden last year.
The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than three million and ruined much of the impoverished country’s infrastructure.
The Saudi-led coalition was formed in 2015 to fight the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In December, the coalition acknowledged it had made “limited use” of British-made cluster bombs, but said it had stopped using them.
In March, the UN World Food Programme said that nearly half of Yemen’s 22 provinces were on the verge of famine.
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