For the second time this month the United Nations has blamed the Saudi-led forces fighting in Yemen’s civil war for an airstrike that killed children.
The Red Sea port of Hodeidah has been under siege from Saudi-led forces trying to recapture the city from Houthi rebels since June.
The U.N. said earlier this month that it had documented 6,592 civilians killed since the coalition entered the war in 2015 – saying coalition attacks account for a lot of them.
Al-Durayhimi lies some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Hodeida, and has seen two weeks of fighting between the rebels and pro-government forces backed by the UAE. An additional air strike in Al Durayhimi on Thursday resulted in the death of four children. The vast majority found the coalition acted lawfully, did not carry out the reported attack, or made an “unintentional” mistake.
The witnesses said the civilians were detained for several hours, making commuting from Sanaa to other governorates risky as they might be subjected to arrest, abduction and confiscation of money or any valuable belongings.
The August 9 air strike sparked global condemnation and the Saudi-led coalition announced an investigation.
A report by Human Rights Watch the same day accused the Saudi-led coalition of failing to hold “credible” investigations into such incidents.
Lowcock noted that “those with influence” over the warring sides in Yemen must ensure that civilians are protected.
After widespread condemnation of the August 9 bus attack, the coalition announced that it was opening an investigation, but rights groups insist any probe should be impartial.
Also on Thursday, the Houthis claimed to have hit a Saudi target in the kingdom’s waters but the coalition said the attack was thwarted. United States operational support for coalition airstrikes could make the U.S. complicit in laws-of-war violations, while continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia could also expose USA officials to criminal liability.
Ms Whitson, HRW Middle East director, also warned governments providing arms to Saudi Arabia that these “sham investigations” do not protect them from being complicit in violations in Yemen.
The coalition has been at war with the Iran-backed Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, since March 2015 in what has now become a mostly stalemated conflict.
The conflict in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people, devastated the Arab world’s poorest country and pushed it to the brink of starvation.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian operation as three in four Yemenis are in need of aid.
27 August 2018
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