Yemen‘s Houthi rebels say air raids by the Saudi-UAE military alliance have killed dozens of civilians, most of them children, in a reported incident two weeks after a coalition air attack on a school bus killed 40 boys.
According to the Houthi movement’s Al Massira TV, 22 children and four women died on Thursday as fighter jets targeted a camp for internally displaced people in Ad Durayhimi, which lies about 20km from the Red Sea city of Hodeidah.
Backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have carried out attacks in Yemen since March 2015 as part of a military campaign to reinstate the internationally recognised government of President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
In 2014, Hadi and his forces were overrun by the Houthi rebels who currently control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
Yemeni government forces – backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE – launched a major operation to retake Hodeidah and its strategic seaport from Houthi rebels in June.
Hussein al-Bukhaiti, a Yemeni journalist in Sanaa, said the death toll in Thursday’s air raids stood at 31, citing a medical source.
“The Saudi strikes at first targeted a village in the Ad Durayhimi area south of Hodeidah, killing five people and injuring another two,” he told Al Jazeera.
Al-Bukhaiti said that 26 women and children had come under attack before boarding a bus in an attempt to flee, but a “second Saudi-UAE strike targeted that bus, killing everyone”.
Earlier on Thursday, the UAE state news agency WAM said that the Houthis had launched a ballistic missile in the same district, which resulted in the death of one child.
WAM said the strike in the recently recaptured village of al-Ghalifqa in Ad Durayhimi also wounded dozens of people, three of them seriously.
Last year, the United Nations added the Saudi-UAE military coalition to a blacklist of child rights violators for causing the deaths and injuries of hundreds of children in Yemen.
On August 9, an air attack by the Saudi-UAE coalition hit a school bus in the Houthi-controlled province of Saada, killing 51 people, including 40 children.
According to munitions experts, a US-made bomb was used in the attack on the school bus, leading to further criticism over Washington’s role in the war in Yemen – described by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
“If it’s proved again that in this instance it was a missile from the US fired by the Saudi-led coalition, that will lead to greater calls and questioning of the US’ intervention and involvement in Yemen,” said Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from neighbouring Djibouti.
According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed in the three-year war – a death toll that has not been updated in years and is certain to be far higher.
In retaliation, the Houthis have launched dozens of missiles at the kingdom. Saudi authorities say over the past three years 90 ballistic missiles were fired by the rebels.
Multiple rounds of United Nations-brokered peace talks have failed to achieve any breakthrough.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies