10/08/2015, 00.00
YEMEN - SAUDI ARABIA
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Yemen air strike hits wedding party: at least 15 dead and 25 wounded

The raid took place in the late afternoon yesterday. Private home hit in Sanban, about 100 km south-east of Sana'a, under the control of the Houthi rebels. No comment from Riyadh, but Saudi-led coalition behind the attack. Humanitarian emergency: 80% of the population is at risk of hunger, at least 2,300 civilian casualties.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An air strike launched - most likely - by the Saudi Arabian coalition in Yemen hit a group of people attending a wedding party, killing at least 15 people and wounding 25. The attack occurred late last night and hit a private home in the region of Sanban, province of Dhamar (about 100 km south-east of the capital), under the control of the Shiite Houthi rebels, goal since last March of a military campaign led by Riyadh.

On September 28, another air strike had hit another wedding party in the coastal town of Mocha, on the Red Sea, killing about 130 people on that occasion. The coalition had denied any responsibility in the attack in the incident, which is the most serious since the war began. However, the attack appears to be the work of Riyadh.

So far the Saudi government and its Arab partners have declined to comment, while civilian casualties of the war multiply. The UN - which speaks of a real human "cost" of the war - estimates almost 5 thousand people, of which more than 2,300 civilians have so far died in the conflict.

Supported by air strikes, the pro-government forces have retaken several areas in the south of Yemen, driving out Shi'ite militias from the port city of Aden, the second largest in the country. The raids, supported by the United States, began in March, two months after the ouster of the government by the Houthi rebels.

Yesterday the leaders of the Shiite movement - linked to Iran by military-political alliance - announced that they have accepted in writing the seven-point peace plan drawn up by the UN. The agreement includes a cease-fire, the withdrawal of armed militias from the towns and the return of the government from Aden to the capital Sana'a. Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi claims, however, that the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, withdraw from the occupied areas before signing the agreement.

Activists and human rights organizations have accused Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Arab coalition for war crimes and appealed to the international community, because it stopped selling weapons to these countries. An effective and independent investigation into violations is urgently needed, say the experts, and blocking the arms trade.

A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in the country and almost 21 million people (80% of the population) are on the brink of "famine" and "desperate" for food and medicine. There are about 1.5 million internally displaced persons.

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