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Strike on Yemen bus apparent war crime: rights group

The Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen last month killed 40 children [AFP]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2018

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An airstrike by a Saudi-led coalition that killed dozens of children in Yemen last month is an "apparent war crime", Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Sunday.

The Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen that killed dozens of people, including 40 children, last month is an apparent war crime, an international rights group said on Sunday.

The attack, which hit a crowded market in northern Yemen killing a total of 51 people, adds to the coalition's "already gruesome track record of killing civilians at weddings, funerals, hospitals, and schools in Yemen", Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

"The Saudi-led coalition's attack on a bus full of young boys adds to its already gruesome track record of killing civilians at weddings, funerals, hospitals, and schools in Yemen," said Bill Van Esveld, senior children's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"Countries with knowledge of this record that are supplying more bombs to the Saudis will be complicit in future deadly attacks on civilians."

The rights group urged states to immediately suspend weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and called for a UN-led inquiry into the violations of all parties in the armed conflict in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition admitted on Saturday mistakes were made in the attack, which left at least 79 people, including 56 children, wounded.

Coalition spokesman Mansour al-Mansour said a coalition probe had found that errors were made prior to the strike and called for those responsible to be "punished".

He told a press conference in Riyadh on Saturday that "an order had been given not to target the bus, which was among civilians, but the order arrived late".

The coalition has been accused of committing numerous human rights violations in Yemen. A report from the UN last week said many of the violations could amount to "war crimes".

It has recognised some of the incidents, but the coalition regularly accuses Houthis of hiding among civilians or using them as human shields. 

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government from the capital Sanaa and seized swathes of the country.

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