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Airstrikes kill more than 30 in Yemen

On February 15th 2020, airstrikes in Jawf province, Yemen, killed at least 31 and injured 12. The Saudi-led coalition is suspected to have carried out the strikes, which were said to have occurred during a rescue mission as a Tornado warplane was shot down by Houthi forces.

The strikes took place amid heavy fighting between government forces, with Saudi-led coalition air support, and Houthi in Jawf province, as well as in Marib and Sanaa.

The civilian casualties occurred in al-Maslub district, with the wounded taken to hospitals in Jawf and Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources.

AOAV recorded 1,345 civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons in Yemen in 2019. Of the civilians killed and injured, 51% (688) were caused by airstrikes. A further 32% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 12% from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In total, at least 56% of civilian casualties in Yemen last year were caused by state perpetrators, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Non-state perpetrators were responsible for at least 41% of civilian casualties; these included those from AQAP, Houthi rebels and pro-Saudi militia forces. The remaining casualties were caused by incidents of explosive violence where the perpetrator remained unknown.

Despite consistently high levels of civilian casualties from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, the UK has licensed at least £4.7bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the start of the civil war in March 2015. Since 2015, AOAV has recorded over 9,000 civilian casualties (deaths and injuries) from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen.

In June 2019, the Court of Appeal demanded the government review their arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Since the judgement, the government has sought to challenge the decision and invited Saudi Arabia to the world’s largest arms fair.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. AOAV encourages all armed actors to stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.