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Yemen

Saudi-led attacks killed 68 Yemeni civilians in a day, UN says

‘These incidents prove the complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, continue to show in this absurd war’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 9:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 9:39pm

Sixty-eight Yemeni civilians were killed in two separate air strikes by the Saudi-led military force in one day, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said on Thursday.

The first attack – on Tuesday – hit a “crowded popular market” in Taez province, killing 54 civilians including eight children, and wounding 32 others, he said in a statement.

The second bombing was of the Red Sea province of Hodeida and killed 14 people from the same family, the statement said.

“I remain deeply disturbed by mounting civilian casualties caused by escalated and indiscriminate attacks throughout Yemen,” McGoldrick said.

In addition to the casualties from Tuesday’s two air raids, another 41 civilians were killed and 43 wounded over the previous 10 days of fighting, he said.

The Saudi-led coalition intensified its air campaign targeting Houthi rebels after December 19 when Saudi air defences are said to have intercepted a missile the insurgents fired at the capital Riyadh.

“These incidents prove the complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, continue to show in this absurd war that has only resulted in the destruction of the country and the incommensurate suffering of its people,” McGoldrick said on Thursday.

He said civilians “are being punished as part of a futile military campaign by both sides”.

“I remind all parties to the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition, of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure and to always distinguish between civilian and military objects,” he said.

The UN official said the conflict in Yemen has no military solution and could be resolved only through negotiations.

The Saudis and others intervened to support the government in March 2015 after the Shiite Houthis took over the capital Sanaa and much of Yemen.

More than 8,750 people have been killed since then, according to the World Health Organisation.