Saudi-led airstrike kills dozens in Yemen

According to the Houthi-controlled Health Ministry in Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a school bus killing 50 and leaving 77 injured.

Background

The ongoing Yemen civil war began in 2015 and it has destroyed the Arab world’s poorest country. As of March 26, 2018, at least 10,000 Yemenis had been killed due to the fighting and more than 40,000 casualties have been reported overall.  Save The Children have estimated that  at least 50,000 children have died in 2017, an average of 130 every day.

Analysis

The International Committee for the Red Cross said that a hospital it supports in Saada had received 29 bodies of "mainly children" younger than 15, including 40 injured. The Red Cross head of communications and spokesperson Mirella Hodeib said that, "(The hospital) is very busy. They've been receiving wounded and dead since the morning and it is nonstop.”

It was reported that on Thursday morning, the attack took place in Dahyan Market in northern Saada, a Houthi rebel stronghold. The Saudi-led coalition defended the attack as a "legitimate military operation" specifically in retaliation to the Houthi ballistic missile, targeting the kingdom's Jizan province. Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, told that the missile strike was aimed at a "legitimate target." He also added that, "No, this is not children in the bus. We do have high standard measures for targeting (sic)."

Amnesty International has spoken out against the "irresponsible arms flows" to the Saudi-led coalition. In March, the US has signed a $12.5 billion arms sales to Riyadh. However, Rebecca Rebarich, Pentagon spokeswoman expressed that, “Our noncombat support focuses on improving coalition processes and procedures, especially regarding compliance with the law of armed conflict and best practices for reducing the risk of civilian casualties.”

Assessment

Our assessment is that, even with humanitarian agencies  saying ‘enough is enough’, there seems to be no respite in the conflict. We feel that the UN must immediately act to offer a way forward through a dialogue on peace.