Saudi-led airstrike kills 29 children on school trip in Yemen

Glen Norman
August 10, 2018

Dozens of children, many under the age of 10, have been killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a school bus in northern Yemen on Thursday.

The Western-backed alliance fighting the Iranian-aligned Houthi group in Yemen said in a statement that the air strikes targeted missile launchers used to attack the southern Saudi city of Jizan on Wednesday, killing a Yemeni civilian there. At least 29 children under the age of 15 were killed in the attack, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said a hospital it supported in Saada had received dozens of casualties on Thursday after the attack.

The ICRC said in its tweet: "Under global humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict".

The Huthi rebels' Al-Masirah TV reported that 39 people had been killed and 51 wounded, "mostly children".


Responding to the airstrike on Thursday, UNICEF Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said, "does the world really need more innocent children's lives to stop the cruel war on children in Yemen?"

The Iran-backed Shiite militia has controlled Yemen's northwest, including Saada, since ousting the country's internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

The coalition said Wednesday's projectile, fired toward the southwestern Saudi city of Jizan, was intercepted and destroyed but its fragments caused the casualties.

Colonel Turki al-Malki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the missile strike was aimed at a "legitimate target".

He stressed that the Houthi leaders and terrorist elements responsible for firing ballistic missiles and targeting civilians will be targeted as part of the coalition efforts to prevent terrorist elements from harming regional and worldwide security.


Houthi media broadcast graphic footage appearing to show the dead bodies of children. The coalition denied that it had carried out air strikes in the area, and blamed the deaths on rebel mortar fire.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki even claimed that the strikes "conformed to worldwide and humanitarian laws".

"The air strikes often target civilians in Saada, so we appeal the worldwide community to intervene to stop the Saudis killing them".

"We call on the Saudi-led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident", said Nauert. But the coalition denied carrying out any attacks in the city, saying it follows a "strict and transparent approach based on the rules worldwide law".

The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and driven the country to the verge of starvation, according to the United Nations.


The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, last week told the Security Council "a political solution" to end the Yemen war was "available" and that the warring sides would be invited to talks on September 6 in Geneva.

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