Children dead in new air strike on Yemen capital

Children were among at least nine people killed in an air strike Friday in a residential neighbourhood of Yemen’s capital Sanaa, witnesses and medics said.

The attack is the latest in a wave of deadly raids on residential areas of Yemen blamed on a Saudi-led coalition, drawing strong international condemnation. The United Nations on Friday accused the Arab coalition of killing 42 civilians in the week to Thursday, including many children.

The Al-Massira television channel run by the Huthi rebels who control the capital said the air strike had killed 14 civilians including six children, blaming the Saudi-led coalition for the strike.

Medics at the site and a rebel security source confirmed at least nine people had been killed.

Mohammed Ahmad, who lived in one of the buildings, said he was among those who had taken nine bodies to a hospital.

“We extracted them one by one from under the rubble,” he said. “Some of them were children from a single family.”

“When the rocket hit, one of the buildings was immediately destroyed which caused the building next door to collapse too. Some residents got out, but others were trapped.”

Series of strikes

The coalition entered Yemen’s war in 2015 in support of the government against the Iran-backed rebels, who are in a fragile alliance allied with troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The World Health Organization estimates nearly 8,400 civilians have been killed and 47,800 wounded since the Saudi-led alliance intervened.

Friday’s raid came two days after at least 30 people died in a series of strikes on Sanaa and its surroundings, which rebels blamed on the Saudi-led coalition.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised the coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace, over the civilian death toll from the bombing campaign.

Northern and southern Yemen have both come under aerial attack in recent months, and the coalition has come under massive pressure from international organisations including the United Nations for its role in the raids.The United Nations has said the Saudi coalition was likely responsible for a July attack on the southwestern Taez province that killed 20 people, including children.

An air raid on a funeral reception in Arhab killed eight women and one child in February, prompting the Saudi-led coalition to announce it was “investigating the reports”.

The coalition has not however admitted responsibility for the attack. The United States also regularly conducts drone strikes in Yemen which Washington says target Al-Qaeda.

Yemen also faces a deadly cholera outbreak that has claimed nearly 2,000 lives and affected more than half a million people since late April.

The combination of war, disease and a coalition blockade have pushed the country, long the poorest in the Arab world, to the brink of famine.