Code: 654703 A

The Saudi-UAE military alliance at war with Yemen's Houthi rebels has been blamed for an air attack on a school bus that killed dozens of people, including at least 29 children.

The vehicle came under attack as it was driving near a crowded market in the Houthi-controlled province of Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

The ICRC said on its Twitter account that its medical team at the ICRC-supported hospital in Saada had received the bodies of 29 children, all under 15 years old. The hospital also received 48 wounded people, among them 30 children.

In a separate Twitter post, Johannes Bruwer, the head of an ICRC delegation in Yemen, said that "according to local officials a total of 50 people died and 77 were injured this morning.

"Of these, the ICRC hospital in Al Talh received 30 dead and 48 injured, of which the vast majority were children."

According to multiple sources, the attack took place early on Thursday outside a busy market in Dahyan city.

Al Masirah, a pro-Houthi rebel TV network, said the bus, which was carrying a group of students attending summer classes learning the Holy Quran, was targeted.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the reports.

 

'Body parts were scattered'

The network posted several videos on Twitter showing the aftermath of the attack, including one with several dead children, and another of blood pouring from the heads of three child survivors.

The Saudi-UAE alliance later issued a statement to the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network saying it launched the attacks on Saada, but that it had targeted "missile launchers".

"[The air strikes] conformed to international and humanitarian laws," a statement quoting coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said.

However, Nasser Arrabyee, a Yemeni journalist based in the capital Sanaa, said there were no Houthi fighters in the vicinity of the market where the attack took place.

"The place is known to be a market, [and] there is no military installation nearby ... but the Saudis are known to have done this many times - target schools, weddings and so on."

He added that health centres in the war-ravaged province would struggle with the number of wounded, and the death toll was likely to rise.

"It's difficult to treat such a big number of injured in Sanaa, let alone in Saada, which is very remote and primitive.

"This makes the situation worse, with many of the wounded likely to die because there is no treatment, no medicine".

Arrabyee added, "even first responders, were killed", with their "body parts scattered."

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from neighbouring Djibouti, said this latest attack was going to enrage Yemenis who are already aggrieved over the rising civilian death toll.

"The Saudis tend to deny these kinds of actions, which have sadly become all too common," he said. "It's all too rare for either party [the alliance or the Houthis] to take responsibility".

The United Nations agency for children UNICEF condemned the attack.

END

Saudi-UAE military alliance
Send Comment