Dozens of civilians have lost their lives and dozens more sustained injuries as Saudi warplanes targeted a bus carrying children in Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada.
The bus came under attack at a market in the Sa’ada town of Zahyn on Thursday, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported.
Abdul-Ghani Nayeb, head of a health department in Sa’ada, put the number of the deaths at 43, saying over 60 others were also wounded.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement that the bus was carrying children.
Johannes Bruwer, head of delegation for the ICRC in Yemen, also said in a tweet that most of the victims were under the age of 10.
In a defiant statement, the Saudi-led coalition called the carnage a “legitimate action,” claiming the fatal air raids were aimed at missile launchers used by Yemeni forces to target the Jizan industrial city in southern Saudi Arabia, a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The strikes “conformed to international and humanitarian laws,” the statement claimed, quoting coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki.
Elsewhere, Saudi fighter jets pounded Zabid District in Yemen’s western province of Hudaydah, killing two civilians and injuring one child.
Saudi Arabia and some of its allies, particularly the United Arab Emirates, launched a brutal war, code-named Operation Decisive Storm, against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the popular Ansarullah movement.
The offensive initially consisted of a bombing campaign, but was later coupled with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen.
Thousands of Yemeni children in the city of Hudaydah are at risk of death, disease and starvation due to Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression, rights groups warn.
The imposed war has so far failed to achieve its goal, thanks to firm resistance mounted by Yemeni troops and Houthi fighters, but has unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the poorest Arabian Peninsula state.