08/09/2017, 08.59
YEMEN
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ICRC: Airstrikes against Yemen Civilians are an Alarming Trend

Recent airstrikes hit the Saada and Taez governorates. In the latest incident, nine members of one family were killed and three critically injured. Casualties were between 3 and 80 years old. “We strongly deplore” the trend of targeting public places and private houses, said the ICRC. This pattern runs against the basic tenets of the law of armed conflict.

Sana’a (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday that is “extremely alarmed” at a pattern of recent airstrikes that killed and injured “dozens of civilians” in the Saada and Taez governorates in Yemen.

In the latest incident, nine members of one family were killed and three critically injured. The casualties ranged in age between 3 and 80.

“Our colleagues have been to the village of Mahda, on the outskirts of Saada city, where they saw a house literally flattened by the explosion, while a crater showed where the impact had occurred,” said the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, Alexandre Faite.

“According to two eyewitnesses, a single strike hit the house in the early morning of 4 August,” continued Mr. Faite. “We strongly deplore the trend whereby public places, such as markets, as well as private houses, have been targeted by the belligerents. This is a pattern that runs counter to the basic tenets of the law of armed conflict, and it must be stopped. Civilians keep paying far too heavy a price in this conflict.”

The ICRC added that, according to international humanitarian law, civilians must not be attacked and warring parties must do everything feasible to verify that targets are military objectives.

“The ICRC is calling on all parties to ensure that constant care is taken to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations,” the Committee urged.

Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war opposing the country’s Sunni elites led by former President Hadi, backed by Riyadh, and Shia Houthi rebels, who are close to Iran. In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began attacking the  rebels, sparking criticism from the United Nations over heavy casualties, including many children.

To date, more than 8,000 people have died, more than 44,000 have been injured and 3 million displaced. Nearly 19 million people (out of 24 in total) are in need of varying degrees of humanitarian assistance. Of these, at least seven million are considered at the brink of famine. Among them, 2.3 million are "malnourished" children less than five years old. 

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