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Saudi airstrikes kill dozens of children in attack on Yemen school bus

Saudi planes have launched hundreds of airstrikes in Yemen. [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 August, 2018

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An attack on a bus carrying children in rebel-held northern Yemen on Thursday left dozens of people dead or wounded.

An attack by the Saudi-led coalition on a bus carrying children in rebel-held northern Yemen on Thursday left dozens of people dead or wounded, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

"Following an attack this morning on a bus driving children in Dahyan Market, northern Saada, (an ICRC-supported) hospital has received dozens of dead and wounded," the organisation said on Twitter without giving more details.

"Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict," it added.

The Houthi rebels' Al Masirah TV reported that 39 people had been killed and 51 wounded, "mostly children".

It accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels on the side of the government of hitting the bus in an airstrike.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said that "the attack that took place today in Saada Governorate was a legitimate military act targeting the militants who planned and carried out an attack on civilians last night in Jazan."

"The attack was carried out in accordance with international humanitarian laws. The coalition will take all measures against criminal and terrorist acts done by the Houthi militia," the Saudi Press Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.

The UN children's agency UNICEF said it was "very concerned with the initial reports of children being killed".

"I am watching with horror the images and videos coming from Saada in #Yemen and I have no words. How was this a military target? Why are children being killed?" tweeted UNICEF's resident representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano.

Last Thursday, attacks on a hospital and a fish market in the strategic rebel-held port city of Hodeida killed at least 55 civilians and wounded 170, according to the ICRC.

Saudi Arabia entered the war in March 2015 to help the Yemeni government in its fight against Houthi rebels which captured the capital Sanaa the previous September.

Since then, Saudi planes have launched hundreds of airstrikes in Yemen, which are believed to have killed thousands of civilians.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also intensified a blockade on the rebel-held port of Hodeida and have launched an offensive on the city.

Yemen's war has killed at least 13,000 people, the vast majority civilians. 

Airstrikes have also destroyed much of Yemen's already basic infrastructure, leading to the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.

Malnutrition, cholera and other diseases have killed or sickened thousands of civilians over the years.

Martin Griffiths, the UN's special envoy for Yemen, said earlier this month that he will invite warring sides in Yemen for talks on 6 September in Geneva to discuss a framework for peace negotiations.

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