The attack devastated a MSF facility in the city of Abs, Hajjab province. The victims include members of the international NGO staff. A strike follows days of intense bombing against the Houthi rebels. Previously an attack on a Koranic school in Haydan killed 10 children.
Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 11 were killed in a Saudi led coalition airstrike yesterday which hit a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in northern Yemen. The attack on the city of Abs – Hajjab province, under Houthi rebel control - 19 people were wounded, some of them seriously.
The Saudi-led coalition, which supports the government of President Hadi to fight Shiite militias, has so far refused to comment on the episode. Local witnesses reported that yesterday's airstrike came after days of intense shelling in the area.
First responders had to move cautiously, for fear of new attacks by the Saudi fighter.
MSF sources in Yemen reported that nine people were killed in the bombings, including MSF staff members operating on the territory. Two more people died later, during transport to the hospital.
Since July last year the Abs hospital has treated more than 4,600 people. A United Nations commission has opened an investigation on the attack, now engaged in gathering information.
Last year, one person had died during a Saudi led coalition attack in the neighboring province of Saada, on a medical center again supported by MSF and a mobile clinic in the southern province of Taiz. In January, a missile had hit a hospital in Saada, killing six people.
The Abs attack comes 48 hours after a Saudi raid that hit a Koranic school in Haydan district in Saada, killing10 children. The coalition and Saudi Arabia - often accused of "errors" in the military operations, which eventually also involve civil - deny the attack, claiming to have hit a Houthi child soldier training camp.
Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war pitting the country’s Sunni leadership, backed by Saudi Arabia, against Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran.
In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against the rebels in an attempt to free the capital For Saudi Arabia, the Houthis, who are allied to forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, are militarily supported by Iran, a charge the latter angrily rejects.
Groups linked to al Qaeda and jihadist militias linked to the Islamic State group are active in the country, which adds to the spiral of violence and terror.
Doctors Without Borders recalls staff of six facilities, situated in the territories controlled by the Houthi rebels. MSF: difficult decision, but it has "lost confidence" in the ability of the Arab coalition to avoid civilian casualties. Since the beginning of the Saudis raids, four structures of the NGO have been hit.
Hospital sources speak of 14 victims. For the director of the dead factory have 16, all workers, and 10 others were injured. It is the first air strike of the Arab coalition in three months and follows the suspension of peace talks. The UN negotiator continues the dialogue in view of new meetings.
The Shiite rebels reported to have carried out "at least 43" violations of the truce in force since yesterday. Houthi response: a Saudi air raid killed three civilians in Saada. Despite violence, UN diplomacy is hoping for an extension of the ceasefire. 80% of the population need humanitarian aid.
The findings come from the Yemen Data Project, a group of academics, experts and human rights activists. Out of 8,600 attacks by the Arab coalition, almost 3,200 hit schools, mosques, hospitals, markets, and residential areas. A market in Marib governorate was hit 24 times. For Riyadh, "collateral damage" is kept at a minimum.
Raid targets Mustabaa town, in the northern province of Hajja, a stronghold of the Houthi rebels. Local sources said that the death toll "is going to increase." A site close to the rebels speak of 65 dead and 55 wounded, all civilians. The medical facilities of the neighboring area on brink of collapse. Over past year the Saudi coalition repeatedly targeted civilian sites.