Saudi responds to Houthi shelling with air strikes

Saudi-backed Arab colition air strikes kill nine in Yemeni capital shortly after seven people were killed in the Saudi border city of Najaran by Iran-backed Houthi militias.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Armed men loyal to the Houthi militias hold their weapons in northern Yemen, in the capital Sanaa August 16, 2016

The Saudi-led Arab coalition carried out an attack in Yemen’s capital on Tuesday shortly after shells fired by Houthi militias killed seven civilians in southern Saudi Arabia. The coalition air strike destroyed a house and killed nine family members. 

Yemen has witnessed a conflict since 2014 between the government and Iranian-backed Houthi militants who abolished parliament early and forced the internationally recognised president out of the country.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia began its air campaign in March 2015 against the Houthis in order to bring President Abd Rabbuh Hadi back into power after he fled to neighbouring Saudi Arabia and asked for help.

The United Nations mediated peace talks in Kuwait between both sides to sustain peace in the country, but the Saudi-led coalition stepped up air raids after the peace talks collapsed on August 6.

The UN says the conflict has killed more than 6,400 people, mostly civilians, and displaced 2.5 million people from their homes.

According to figures released by the Norwegian Refugee Council, 21 million people - 80 percent of the population - require aid, while the crisis deepens in the war-torn country.

A woman and her daughters sit outside their tent at a camp for internally displaced people near Sanaa, Yemen, August 15, 2016

On Monday, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on parties “to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and human rights and do everything in their power to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure,” while investigating civilian deaths.

Moon’s statement came after a Saudi air strike hit a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital and killed 14 civilians.

The 14-member coalition that was formed by Saudi Arabia - the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) - announced that they started an investigation on the bombing of the Abs hospital after international condemnation.

"This investigation will be independent and will follow international standards. The JIAT will make the results of its investigation public," it said in a statement.

The latest bombing on the health facility brought the number of attacks on MSF hospitals in Yemen to four.

MSF says the organisation already repeatedly shared the location and GPS coordinates of the hospital with all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen, including the Saudi-led coalition, in order to prevent attacks.

TRTWorld and agencies