More than 30 civilians killed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, UN says

Click to play video: 'Video purports to show downing of Saudi warplane' Video purports to show downing of Saudi warplane
WATCH: Video purports to show downing of Saudi warplane – Feb 15, 2020

Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen killed more than 30 civilians in a mountainous northern province Saturday, the rebels said, and the U.N. humanitarian chief called the attack “shocking.”

The attack came hours after Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, said they shot down a warplane of the Saudi-led coalition over the province of Jawf.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency quoted Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the coalition, as saying it was investigating “possible collateral damage” from a rescue operation in the area after the downing of the Tornado warplane.

READ MORE: At least 25 soldiers killed in Houthi missile strike on army camp: Yemen officials

Al-Maliki was quoted as saying the plane was providing air support for Yemeni government forces fighting the Houthis.

Story continues below advertisement

He did not say whether there were causalities or provide further details on the fate of the aircraft’s crew.

He said the two-pilot crew of the Tornado managed to eject safely before the crash, claiming that the Houthis opened fire on them. He said the Houthis were responsible for the pilots’ “life and safety,” according to the Saudi Arabia official news agency.

He did not say whether there were causalities or provide further details.

Click to play video: 'Yemenis denounce killing of Iranian general' Yemenis denounce killing of Iranian general
Yemenis denounce killing of Iranian general – Jan 6, 2020

The U.N. humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen, Lise Grnade, said the airstrikes in al-Maslub district killed at least 31 civilians and wounded 12 others, according to preliminary field reports.

“So many people are being killed in Yemen — it’s a tragedy and it’s unjustified. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility,” she said. “It’s shocking.”

Story continues below advertisement

She said many wounded were taken to hospitals in Jawf and Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

The humanitarian group Save the Children condemned the airstrike, saying it showed that the conflict in Yemen was “not slowing down.”

READ MORE: Yemen’s Houthi rebels to pull out of key ports, paving the way for negotiations toward war’s end

`This latest attack must be urgently and independently investigated, and perpetrators held to account,” said Xavier Joubert, the charity’s country director in Yemen.

He called for halting arms sales to the warring parties in Yemen’s conflict.

“Those who continue to sell arms to the warring parties must realize that by supplying weapons for this war, they contribute to making atrocities like today’s all too common,” Joubert said.

Click to play video: 'Missile strike at military parade in Yemen kills at least 5, injures others' Missile strike at military parade in Yemen kills at least 5, injures others
Missile strike at military parade in Yemen kills at least 5, injures others – Dec 29, 2019

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the pillars of the U.S.-backed coalition, have purchased billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from Western countries, particularity the U.S.

Story continues below advertisement

The rebels released graphic images showing destroyed buildings and vehicles and bodies, claiming they were of the victims. They also released footage allegedly showing the downing of the Saudi aircraft and its wreckage.

The warplane crash and the airstrikes came amid heavy clashes between the government forces and Houthis in the provinces of Marib, Jawf and Sanaa. Hundreds of people, mostly fighters, were killed in the recent clashes that have also forced at least 4,700 families to flee, according to the U.N.

READ MORE: Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim drone attacks on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia

The Yemen conflict began with the 2014 takeover of the capital by the Houthis, who control much of the country’s north along the border with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states intervened in March 2015 trying to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

In a relentless campaign, Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties and killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. The Houthis have used drones and missiles to attack Saudi Arabia.

The war has killed over 100,000 people, including fighters and civilians, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks violence reports in Yemen. The war also created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical shortages.


Sponsored content