Yesterday, November 1st 2017, a suspected Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a hotel in Yemen’s Saada province, killed at least 29 people, including children, and wounded a further 28. Many of the injured are said to be in a critical condition.
Eyewitnesses insist there were no fighters in the hotel, as bulldozers remove debris from the wreckage and search for missing people. The area was completely destroyed in the attack, including many shops in the market that surrounded the hotel.
Another airstrike in a different part of the province was said to kill another three people.
A UNHCR spokesperson said of the airstrike: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the reports coming from Saada today and our UN partners are verifying the incident… With the conflict prolonging in Yemen, we are seeing hostilities intensify, humanitarian needs accumulate and civilians bearing the brunt.”
AOAV found that 85% of the civilians killed and injured in airstrikes in Yemen between 2015 and 2016 were in populated areas, such as schools, homes, markets and hospitals.
In the first half of 2017, Yemen saw at least 77 airstrikes reported in English-language news media, causing 559 civilian casualties. At least five of these airstrikes landed on markets and shops, whilst 31 landed on residential areas.
The destruction of civilian infrastructure has contributed significantly to the wider humanitarian emergency with 20.7 million Yemenis now in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN figures.
There have been many calls for states to suspend their arms trade with Saudi Arabia, with the UK’s High Court ruling such sales as legal, despite evidence suggesting Saudi airstrikes had “committed serious breaches of international humanitarian law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”.
AOAV condemns the attack in Yemen and calls upon states to recognise the civilian impact of explosive weapons with wide-area impacts, which all too often result in the death and injury of scores of civilians. AOAV encourages all states supplying arms to Saudi Arabia to suspend these sales until proper investigations have been conducted and such attacks cease to occur.
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