Airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition hit wedding in Yemen, 20 killed

At least 30 children injured by the airstrike on Sunday At least 30 children injured by the airstrike on Sunday Reuters

25 April 2018

In the Northern Yemeni province of Hajjah, a wedding celebration turned into a bloodbath with at least 20 people killed and 46 injured.

On Sunday 22 April, airstrikes carried out by a Saudi-led military coalition killed at least 20 people attending a wedding in the Northern Yemeni town of al Raqa. Most of the victims were women and children, including the bride. 30 children were reported injured among the 46 people registered at the hospital after the attack. This is the third attack on civilians carried out in Northern Yemen since the weekend. Shocking footage of the aftermath of the airstrike was released by the Houthi TV station Al-Masirah,showing disturbing images such as a boy crying on the dead body of an adult man, allegedly his father. Medical aid was not able to reach the site immediately after the attack for fear of subsequent bombings, the fighter jets having struck twice in a short space of time.

The Saudi-led military coalition, backed by the United Kingdom and the United States, has been involved in the Yemen civil war since 2015. Its goal is to re-establish the internationally recognized Yemeni government by overthrowing the Houthi rebels who now control most of Northern Yemen, including the capital Sana’a. Although the coalition asserts that it does not target civilians, only armed rebels, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed over the past three years, and 3 million have been displaced.

On this occasion, the Saudi-led coalition refused to comment when contacted by the Associated Press. The only comment released to Reuters by its spokesperson noted that reports of the incident would be taken seriously and it would be investigated. The coalition usually blames Houthi rebels for the killings of civilians, stating that they deliberately hide among them, using the civilian population as a human shield. Nonetheless, United Nation officials and human rights groups continue to accuse the Coalition of war crimes and of contributing, with deliberate attacks on weddings, schools and hospitals, to make Yemen’s civil war one of the worst humanitarian crises in history.


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By Annette Savoca and Anna Churton

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