10/10/2016, 11.29
YEMEN - SAUDI ARABIA
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Sana'a, thousands of citizens take to streets against Riyadh over funeral massacre

A crowd gathered in front of the UN headquarters in the Yemeni capital. The protesters accused the Saudi led Arab coalition for attack at October 8 funeral. In 140 people killed, more than 500 wounded in raids. Houthi leaders believe Washington has authorized the attack, American weapons used.

 

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of people in Yemen have crowded the streets of the capital, Sana'a, to protest against an airstrike that killed over 140 people. Although there is no official confirmation, the Saudi led Arab coalition is believed to be the author of the attack.  The coalition has been fighting  Houthi Shiite rebels for a year and a half. The raid took place on 8 October and has hit a group of people, mostly civilians, who had gathered to attend a funeral vigil.

Demonstrators yesterday protested outside the local United Nations headquarters, calling for an international investigation into the air raid, laying the blame squarely on Riyadh.

Saudi authorities - already at the center of an independent international investigation, according to which "a third" of the air strikes hit civilian targets - have opened an investigation into the affair. However, they have not confirmed nor denied involvement.

The air raid hit the wake of the father of al-Gawal Rawishan, the interior minister of the Houthi "government" that controls Sana'a, over 500 people were injured. The ceremony was attended by several senior officials of the Shiite rebel militias, number one goal of the war launched by the Saudis in Yemen; some of them were seriously injured.

Witnesses and rescue workers who rushed to the place of the attack - condemned in these hours by the UN, US and European Union - have spoken about a real "blood bath".

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said that "any deliberate attack against civilians is completely unacceptable". The head of the UN also called for those responsible to be identified and accountable for actions committed.

Following the attack, Washington said it could further reduce its support for the Saudi coalition. The spokesman for the National Security, Ned Price, points out that US-Saudi cooperation "is not a blank check".

In a televised speech, the Houthi leader Abdul-Malek al-Houthi pointedly accused the White House, stressing that the air raid took place with the "green light" from Washington and with the use of American weapons. The rebel spokesman speaks of the act of "genocide."

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.

So far, some 10,000 people, including more than 3,700 civilians, have been killed, and at least 2.5 million have been displaced.

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