Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Yemen war: Children killed in Saudi-led air strike on bus

Yemen war: Children killed in Saudi-led air strike on bus

A strike on a bus in rebel-held northern Yemen killed at least 29 children on Thursday (Aug 9), the Red Cross said, as the Saudi-led coalition faced a growing outcry over the attack.

Hours later, well after the blast's violent rumble gave way to sirens and the victim's screams, a clearer sense of the human cost has emerged: At least 29 children under the age of 15, some as young as 6 years old, were killed in the attack, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Speaking by phone to the US-based news outlet, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen's government, Col Turki Al Maliki, insisted Thursday's attack carried out in Saada is a "legitimate military action" and is "in accordance with global humanitarian law and customs".

In the Yemeni capital, rebel-run Al Masirah TV gave a different number, saying the attack killed 39 people and wounded 51, mainly children.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged an "independent and prompt" probe, while State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington was "calling the Saudi led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident".

The coalition fighting alongside the government against Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen said it carried out a "legitimate military action" in the area.

In a message on Twitter, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen said a hospital it supports had received dozens of casualties.

Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdul-Salam said the coalition showed "clear disregard for civilian life" as the attack had targeted a crowded public place in the city.

The head of the humanitarian organisation's delegation in the country, Johannes Bruwer, later tweeted that "scores" had been killed and "even more injured, most under the age of 10".

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Col. Al-Maliki stressed: "The Coalition will take all necessary measures against the terrorist, criminal acts of the Iranian-Houthi militias, such as recruiting child soldiers, pushing them into battlefields and using them as shields for their terrorist acts".

Houthi media broadcast gruesome footage appearing to show the dead bodies of children.

"The air strikes targeted a bus full of school students in the middle of Dahyan market in Saada province while they were going to their school", the official said.

A child lies in hospital after the school bus he was on was allegedly attacked by the Saudi-led coalition.

A USA military spokesperson said United States forces were not involved in Thursday's air strike.

The Houthis have in recent months ramped up missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh usually says it intercepts. USA mid air support.

"The Coalition is targeting the militants responsible for planning and targeting civilians which resulted in killing of one and injuring 11 in Jazan", it said.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in three years of war, according to the United Nations.

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