The United Nation special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffith, on Thursday, July 16, called for an investigation into an airstrike in a civilian area that killed several people. The strike was carried out by the Saudi-led coalition on Wednesday. The dead include women and children. Several others were injured during the attack.
Griffiths:"We deplore yesterday's air strikes in #AlJawf which, according to initial reports, resulted in multiple civilian casualties including children. A thorough&transparent investigation is required.
— @OSE_Yemen (@OSE_Yemen) July 16, 2020
While the UN humanitarian coordination office said the death toll in Wednesday’s attack was 11, the Houthi-led administration claimed 24 people had died.
The bombing was carried out in al-Hazm city in the northern al-Jawf province at a house where people had gathered to celebrate the circumcision of a boy. According to the residents quoted by Middle East Eye, there are no military bases in the area nearby.
Wednesday’s strike was the second this week. On Sunday, in a similar airstrike, 9 people, including seven children and two women were killed in the northern province of Hajjah. Wednesday’s airstrike was the third such airstrike since the end of a ceasefire in June. The ceasefire had been declared after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Houthi-led government in the capital Sana called the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrike on Wednesday’s a “war crime”. It has accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately targeting civilians in the air strikes which have killed hundreds since 2015. The coalition often calls such deaths “accidental.”
The Saudi-led coalition is supporting the Abd Rabuuh Mansour Hadi-led government. This government has been in exile since 2014 when the Houthi-led forces captured capital Sana.
Meanwhile, the continuing battle in Yemen’s Marib province between the coalition forces and the Houthis amid the pandemic has caused concern. According to the WHO, as of Thursday, Yemen had 1,530 cases out of which 434 people had died, making it the country with the highest death rate (per infected people) in the world.
The coalition’s war and blockade of Yemen has destroyed its administrative and medical infrastructure. This has led to a lack of testing and treatment facilities in the country which is already struggling with shortages of food and other basic necessities.