AntiWar.com & Reuters & The Daily Star & Lena Masri / ABC News – 2018-08-10 23:27:27
Saudi Coalition Promises Investigation Into Strike on Yemen Schoolbus
Houthis back UN Security Council call for independent probe
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 10, 2018) — The Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen has promised that they will carry out an investigation following Thursday’s attack in the Saada Province. In the strike, Saudi warplanes attacked a schoolbus outside of a crowded marketplace, killing at least 50, mostly children.
The coalition says they are “firmly committed to investigating all claims regarding mistakes or violations of international law.” This statement was made through the Saudi press despite officials insisting on Thursday that the killings were a “legitimate military action” and perfectly legal.
Gory photos of dead children that followed, however, fueled a lot of calls from the international community to investigate the matter. UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres condemned the strike and urged an “independent and prompt investigation.” The Houthis, who control northern Yemen, backed the call.
In general, international probes don’t happen in Yemen. Saudi complaints keep the UN from issuing any critical statements, and the US has generally prevented the UN Security Council from backing anything on Yemen that the Saudis would object to. In the past, the UN has simply allowed the Saudis to investigate themselves.
The Saudi coalition’s internal investigations, to the extent they happen at all, rarely are made public. When they are, they have endorsed every attack, or denied that they happened at all.
Arab Coalition Says Will Probe Airstrike That Killed 40 Kids
Reuters & The Daily Star
SANAA/DUBAI/GENEVA (August 11, 2018) — An Arab coalition said Friday it would investigate an airstrike that killed dozens of children in Yemen, as the UN Security Council called for an independent probe. At least 40 children were killed in Thursday’s strike on a bus in northern Yemen, the armed Houthi group that controls Yemen’s capital said. That raised the toll of children killed in the raid from 29.
The strike by the Western-backed alliance of Arab countries outraged human rights groups and was strongly condemned by UN officials. Henrietta Fore, executive director of the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, said the “horrific” attack marked “a low point in [Yemen’s] brutal war.”
People in Saada started to dig graves in preparation for funerals to be held Saturday. “God may give us patience,” said Hussein Hussein Tayeb, who lost three sons on the bus, on a trip with other pupils to visit a mosque and tombs.
“I was one of the first to arrive on the scene, seeking to rescue the wounded; I lifted a body and I found that it was Ahmad’s face. I hugged him, he was my son.”
Ahmad was 11. His brothers Youssef and Ali were 14 and 9.
UN chief Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation of the raid that hit the bus as it drove through a market in Dahyan, a town in the Houthis’ home province of Saada.
The UN Security Council Friday called for a “credible and transparent” investigation after receiving a closed-door briefing on the strike by a senior UN official.
A Reuters TV crew saw boys injured in the strike lying on beds in the Dahyan hospital, many with their heads wrapped. The face of one was covered in lacerations.
The Arab coalition carried out new airstrikes, killing a girl and injuring several other people whose home was targeted in Marib province, east of the capital Sanaa, the Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV said.
Announcing the investigation into the strike, the Saudi Press Agency quoted an alliance official as saying: “The coalition is firmly committed to investigating all claims regarding mistakes or violations of international law, to sanction those who caused these incidents and to provide assistance to the victims.”
The Arab states initially said the airstrikes on the bus were “legitimate military action” against missile launchers, carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law. Al-Masirah TV cited the Houthi Health Minister Taha Mutawakil as saying the estimated number of casualties stood at 51 killed including 40 children, and at least 79 people wounded, including 56 children.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported the same toll Friday, citing authorities in Saada. It had said on its Twitter account Thursday its medical team at the ICRC-supported hospital in Saada had received the bodies of 29 children, all under 15 years old. The hospital also received 48 wounded people, among them 30 children.
Al-Masirah TV said Houthis had fired a number of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, targeting Jizan and Aseer provinces, which lie at the border. Saudi Arabia intercepted two missiles fired at Jizan, Al-Arabiya TV reported.
The head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammad Ali al-Houthi hailed Friday’s call by Guterres for an independent investigation into the airstrike. In Paris, the French Foreign Ministry said France condemned the strike and backed a UN call to bring all parties in the war together for talks in Geneva on Sept. 6.
Rebels Welcome Call for Investigation into
Airstrike in Yemen that Killed Dozens of Children
Lena Masri / ABC News
LONDON (August 10, 2018) — Houthi rebels welcomed a call for an international investigation into an airstrike that killed dozens of children traveling on a school bus in Yemen’s Saada province Thursday.
“We welcome the call of the United Nations secretary general and are ready to cooperate,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the senior leader of the Shiite Houthi group, said in a tweet in Arabic on Friday.
UN Secretary-General AntÃ³nio Guterres condemned the airstrike by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition and called for an “independent and prompt investigation” into the attack in a statement on Thursday.
On Friday, the Saudi-led coalition announced it would investigate the attack. According to the Saudi Press Agency, a senior official in the coalition made the decision after having seen media reports, including reports from relief agencies, about the incident.
On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Twitter that its hospital in Saada received the bodies of 29 children. The hospital also received 48 injured people, including 30 children. The majority of the patients were under the age of 10, the ICRC said.
On Friday, the ICRC, citing authorities in Saada, said that 51 people were killed in the attack, including 40 children, while 79 people had been injured, including 56 children.
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on the Saudi government to conduct a “thorough and transparent investigation” into the attack during a press briefing.
But when asked by reporters whether she saw the need for an independent investigation, Nauert would not say.
“This is something that is fresh, that just happened, so I’m not going to get ahead of any kind of investigation that may take place,” Nauert said.
The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015. After the Houthis took over the capital of Sanaa and forced interim president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government to flee the country, the Arab Sunni coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, launched a war to restore Hadi’s government to power.
Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed, and the coalition has been blamed by the United Nations for most of the civilian deaths. Western countries, including the US and the UK, back the coalition and have supplied it with weapons and other military equipment.
Yemen is one of the world’s poorest countries and the war has made conditions there much worse. More than 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than half of the country’s health facilities are out of service, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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