Yemen: Dozens of children killed, wounded in school bus attack

Yemen: Dozens of children killed, wounded in school bus attack

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An attack blamed on a Saudi-Emirati military alliance on a school bus carrying children in Yemen killed and wounded dozens of people.

Ghani Nayeb, head of a health department in Saada province where the air strikes took place, told Reuters news agency the death toll stood at 43 with 61 others wounded.

“Scores killed, even more injured, most under the age of 10,” Johannes Bruwer, head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Crescent (ICRC) in Yemen, said in a Twitter post.

The bus attack occurred outside a busy market in Dahyan city in Houthi-rebel controlled Saada in Yemen’s north, which borders Saudi Arabia.

Al Masirah, a pro-Houthi rebel TV network, said the deaths were caused by air strikes from the Saudi-Emirati coalition.

There was no immediate comment from the military alliance.

“As soon as this bus entered a busy market, the Saudi coalition targeted this bus,” Hakim Masmari, editor of the Yemen Post, told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera could not independetly verify the reports.

Following an attack this morning on a bus driving children in Dahyan Market, northern Sa’ada, @ICRC_yemen- supported hospital has received dozens of dead and wounded. Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict.

— ICRC Yemen (@ICRC_ye) August 9, 2018

Later on Thursday, sounds of blasts from air strikes that hit the capital, Sanaa, reverberated across its southern and western neighbourhoods. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties in those strikes.

‘It was a massacre’: Dozens killed in Saudi air raids on Hodeidah

With logistical support from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have carried out attacks in Yemen since March 2015. The war effort is an attempt to reinstate the internationally recognised government of President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

In 2014, Hadi and his forces were overran by the Houthi rebels who took over much of the country, including Sanaa. 

Earlier this month, dozens of people – including women and children – were killed in Yemen‘s Red Sea port city of Hodeidah in air raids carried out by the Saudi and UAE alliance battling the Houthis.

“It is high time for these relapsing tragedies to stop in Yemen,” ICRC’s Robert Mardini tweeted. “No one should allow putting children in harm’s way and making them pay such an unacceptable price.”

At least 10,000 people have been killed in the three-year war – a death toll that hasn’t been updated in years and is certain to be far higher. 

‘Needs to stop’

Jolien Veldwijk from Care International said the Saudi-Emirati coalition continues to relentlessly hit civilian areas with its firepower.

“I mean this needs to stop, there’s no way we can continue with our work with all these air strikes,” Veldwijk told Al Jazeera.  

In June, Saudi and UAE forces carried out 258 air raids on Yemen, nearly one-third of which targeted non-military sites.

The Yemen Data Project listed 24 air raids on residential areas, three on water and electricity sites, three hitting healthcare facilities, and one targeting an IDP camp.

Impoverished Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is now in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people in need of assistance.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been pushing to bring the warring parties to restart peace talks. He recently announced plans to invite Yemen’s combatants to Geneva on September 6 to hold the first round of negotiations.

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