05/18/2017, 09.56
YEMEN - SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi air raid in Yemen hits civilians: 23 victims, including women and children

The attack took place yesterday near the city of Taez, in the southwest of the country, in an area controlled by Houthi rebels. Government source speaks of "error" in targeting objective. No comment from Riyadh. Vehicle crowded with civilians returning from a day of shopping hit.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Saudi Arabian led coalition air raid in Yemen killed at least 23 civilians yesterday, including women and children. News of the attack near the city of Taez, in the southwest of the country was reported by the Houthi rebels who are fighting against the government of President Hadi supported by Riyadh.

A pro-government military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirms the raid and speaks of an "error" in the target of the strike. The Saudis have remained tight lipped, not wanting to officially comment on the story.

Saba agency, controlled by Shiite rebels who are close to Iran, reports a raid that hit a civilian vehicle in the Mawzaa Prefecture, about 60km southwest of Taez. Local witnesses speak of at least six children killed by Saudi bombs; Six more people are also reportedly dead, but their bodies were burned, making recognition impossible.

The Arab coalition attack affected an area controlled by Houthi rebels and involved at least one vehicle (civilian).

A military source explains that passengers on board the bus were returning to Mawzaa after a shopping trip to the nearby town of Barah. The same source adds that many of the corpses were "torn to pieces".

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.

Yesterday's raid arrives a few days ahead of US President Donald Trump’s official visit to Saudi Arabia scheduled for May 20. It is the first official trip abroad for the White House tenant, since his official inauguration in January.

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