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REPUBLIC OF YEMEN: At least six civilians burn to death in further airstrikes overnight

3 Apr 2015
[International Secretariat]
Region: REPUBLIC OF YEMEN
Topic: Regional conflict

Aftermath of airstrikes that turned 14 houses to rubble near Sana'a international airport in Yemen on 26 March 2015. (C) Zakarya Dahman, courtesy of The Yemen Times.
Aftermath of airstrikes that turned 14 houses to rubble near Sana'a international airport in Yemen on 26 March 2015. (C) Zakarya Dahman, courtesy of The Yemen Times.

At least six children under the age of 10 were among a reported 25 people killed in Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes in the Yemeni capital Sana’a early this morning, Amnesty International confirmed after speaking to hospital officials and eyewitnesses.

Saudi Arabian officials today stated they had destroyed “all Huthi air defences" at al-Dailami base next to Sana’a International Airport. Huthi armed groups had allegedly been operating a checkpoint around 100m away, as well as al-Dailami base around 500m away.

Saudi Arabia announced it was launching a military intervention by a coalition of 10 countries, including five Gulf Cooperation Council states, against the Huthi armed groups.

The organization spoke to medical personnel at four different hospitals where the dead were taken after being pulled from the rubble of 14 houses that were hit in a residential neighbourhood near the city’s international airport. It is believed that more people may still be buried beneath the rubble, and at least 20, including four women, were admitted to hospital with mainly shrapnel injures.

Meanwhile, al-Kitaf market next to the al-Kitaf Military Base was targeted on 27 March, where 20 people, including three children were killed, and 16 were injured.

The strikes on Ibb come a day after 29 civilians, including children, were killed in airstrikes on a bridge at al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) on 30 March in Sa'ada, in northern Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia.

The dead included four children and two women, as well as eight men, but it is unknown if any of those were fighters. At least 31 others were hospitalized with burns and shrapnel wounds.Amnesty International confirmed that at least six civilians, including four children, were among 14 people who burned to death in further strikes early this morning.

The attacks, carried out at around 2 AM in Ibb governorate, were apparently targeting a Huthi checkpoint as well as fuel supplies along the road between Yareem and Dhammar.Two petrol stations were destroyed in the airstrikes on Ibb governorate. According to the owner of one of the stations, in al-Kadima area in al-Kita, several passengers were killed in a car which had stopped to refuel, and a petrol station worker was injured.

“This high toll of civilian deaths and injuries in these attacks raises concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabian and any other armed forces carrying out airstrikes in Yemen are required to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

Precautions include giving effective advance warning of attacks which may endanger the civilian population, cancelling or suspending an attack if it becomes clear that it is likely to cause excessive civilian casualties or damage, and choosing means and methods of attack that minimize the risk to civilians and civilian objects.

Humanitarian agencies, including UNICEF and Médecins Sans Frontières, condemned the attack on al-Mazraq and called on all parties to the armed conflict in Yemen to respect the neutrality of medical facilities and staff, and allow unhindered access to medical assistance for the wounded.

31 March 2015
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

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