January 22, 2018 / 2:02 PM / 4 months ago

Saudi-led air strike kills seven Yemenis - residents

SAADA, Yemen (Reuters) - Saudi-led coalition aircraft on Monday struck a building in northern Yemen that housed a clinic, killing seven people, five of them children, residents said, the latest in a series of raids that have drawn international condemnation.

People gather at the site of an air strike that destroyed a house on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition had no immediate comment on the attack, which residents said occurred early in the morning. The coalition says it does not target civilians in its war against the Iran-aligned Houthi group.

In a separate incident on Monday in southwestern Yemen Houthi fighters killed 12 people when they fired rockets at a parade being held by special security forces, medics said.

Yemen has been torn apart by nearly three years of conflict, with most of the populous north controlled by the armed Houthi group, while the south and east are run by the internationally-recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is backed by a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

Residents of Sohar district, on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Saada, said warplanes had struck the building that housed a small clinic and a house. As well as the seven deaths, five people were injured, residents said.

“A bus that was parked here was thrown behind the house and that house was damaged by the size of the bomb,” said a man who identified himself as Abu Yasser as people gathered around the destroyed building.

In a separate raid in the same district on Monday two other people - a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy and her husband - were killed when a hanger and flour mill were struck by the coalition, according to the woman’s brother-in-law.

A coalition spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the attack.

People stand at the site of an air strike that destroyed a house and a clinic attached to it on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

The coalition has come under international criticism, including from the United States, following previous attacks. The coalition says its pilots take extra precautions not to hit civilian targets and investigates each report.

In the incident in southwestern Yemen, Houthi fighters fired rockets on Monday at a parade by special security forces in the town of al-Maafer in southwestern Yemen, medics said. The town is near to Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city which is controlled by Hadi supporters.

The medics said one rocket hit the main viewing platform, killing 12 people, including two journalists covering the event, but the deputy interior minister in Hadi’s government, Nasser Lakhsha, who was attending the parade, escaped unharmed.

The Houthis have made no comment on the attack on Taiz.

The Yemen war has caused a major humanitarian crisis, killing more than 10,000, according to U.N. data issued in 2016. It has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and led to a cholera epidemic believed to have affected about one million people.

Since the war erupted in 2015, however, little territory has changed hands between the two sides.

Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Gareth Jones

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