Saudi Arabia denies coalition killed Yemeni civilians

Saudi official rejects claims that Saudi-led coalition played active role in killing 25 civilians in air strike

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Fire fighters try to extinguish fire engulfing a pesticide storage after it was hit by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's western port city of Houdieda September 25, 2015.

A Saudi Arabian official on Sunday said that the Saudi-led coalition had no involvement in the attack that killed 25 civilians in northwestern village of Bani Zela in Yemen.

"This is totally false news. We deny it," said the official speaking to Reuters. 

According to reports, helicopters belonging to the Saudi-led coalition battling the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, killed 25 civilians in the northwestern Yemeni village on Sunday.

Local residents and medics told Reuters by telephone that the coalition helicopters targeted unarmed civilians, and that most of the 25 slain Yemenis were women and children.

"People were fleeing their homes as the helicopters pursued, They committed a massacre for no reason," one resident, who called himself Khaled, said.

Saudi Arabia has been leading the operations in Yemen since March 2015, as it sees Houthis as proxies for Iran, the Kingdom has accused Iran of trying to spread its influence into Arab states, including Syria and Yemen.

Following a call from Yemeni President, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to “save Yemen” from Houthi aggression, Saudi-led military operations started in late March.

The UN has declared the situation in Yemen to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, after about 80 percent of the country’s population fell into dire need of humanitarian aid.

Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.

Ongoing battles have killed over 4,500 people in Yemen since March 26, UN reports confirm.


TRTWorld and agencies