Washington demands probe into Yemen bus strike

Geneva Stokes
August 10, 2018

Airstrikes on a market in northern Yemen on Thursday killed dozens of people, including at least 29 children in a school bus, drawing worldwide condemnation and putting a spotlight on a US -backed Saudi military coalition accused of carrying out the attack.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a hospital it supports in Saada had received 29 dead bodies of "mainly children" under 15 years of age, and 40 injured, including 30 children.

"Our non-combat support focuses on improving coalition processes and procedures, especially regarding compliance with the law of armed conflict and best practices for reducing the risk of civilian casualties", the statement added.

A man carries a wounded child to the hospital Thursday after the Saudi-led coalition carried out an airstrike on a crowded area in Houthi-controlled Saada province.

Asked about the airstrike by the USA -backed coalition, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters "we are certainly concerned".

The coalition's spokesperson said the operation sought to target the militants responsible for a missile intercepted over Saudi civilian territory on Wednesday.

Last week, Yemeni medical officials said the coalition conducted airstrikes in the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, killing at least 28 people and wounding 70.

"Scores killed, even more injured, most under the age of ten". He also accused the Houthis of recruiting children and using them in the battlefields to cover for their actions.

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"Save the Children condemns this horrific attack and is calling for a full, immediate and independent investigation into this and other recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals", said the group in a statement.

Footage from the scene, in the area of northern Yemen that is the heartland of the Houthi rebels fighting the recognised government, showed children as young as six being pulled from the wreckage.

Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government.

Separately, a White House National Security Council spokeswoman referred to "conflicting reports in global media" and said "we are waiting for an official assessment of what actually happened".

Global rights groups repeated calls for an end to the war and strongly condemned the bus attack and other civilian massacres.

Thursday's heavy toll sparked calls from both United Nations chief and the US State Department for the strike to be investigated.

The Houthis have launched a series of missile strikes on the kingdom, including the capital, Riyadh, over the past year.

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