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An airstrike on the al-Dailami base in Sanaa
Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Huwais

Yemen airstrike kills at least 130 people

September 29, 2015

The UN has put the death toll from a suspected Saudi airstrike on a wedding party in Yemen as high as 135 people. The Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels denied involvement.


At least 2,355 civilians - not including the more than 130 deaths from the wedding airstrike - have been killed since the end of March in Yemen, the UN Human Rights Office said on Tuesday.

The airstrike on Monday hit the wedding party of a man affiliated with the Houthis in the Red Sea village of al-Wahijah, near the port of al-Mokha. It was earlier reported that some 30 people had died, but medics have confirmed at least 130 dead.

Saudi Arabia, which has led a six-month air and ground campaign against the Houthis, denied any involvement in the airstrike on Monday.

Coalition spokesperson, Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asseri said there had been no air operations in the area for three days. "This is totally false news," he said.

The UN secretary general condemned the "disregard shown by all sides for human life" in a statement that called for the cessation of military operations and a resumption of UN backed political talks. He added that intentional and indiscriminate attacks on civilians is against international law and should be investigated.

Mounting Saudi criticism

The Saudi-led Arab coalition started the military campaign in March to oust Houthi rebels, who took the capital Sanaa in September 2014. The Houthis later put the internationally recognized president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, under house arrest before he fled to Saudi Arabia.

The multi-front conflict pits Houthi rebels and forces tied to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces loyal to Hadi, southern Yemeni secessionists, tribal forces and elements of al-Qaeda and the so-called "Islamic State." Coalition ground forces have also recently entered combat in a so-far unsuccessful bid to push the Houthis from the capital, but have retaken the port city of Aden.

The coalition has come under mounting criticism for the heavy toll the war has taken on civilians, 80 percent of which are in need of humanitarian assistance. Human rights organizations and the UN have also criticized the Houthis for indiscriminate attacks, though not on the scale of coalition airstrikes.

cw/kms (AP, Reuters)

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