Saudi-led coalition rejects charge of fatal Sanaa air strike

A life-size statue of a child is pictured outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 7, 2018, as part of a protest by Save The Children against the visit to the UK by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
AFP

Sanaa (AFP) – A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia Thursday rejected allegations over an air raid in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa, which witnesses said left six members of the same family dead.

Neighbours told AFP the strike on the two-storey house took place at around 9:00 pm local time on Wednesday.

“Following our review of this alleged incident, we find all these allegations to be unfounded,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said in a statement to AFP.

Ahmed Hazem al-Samri told AFP an air strike on his house killed his father, two women and three children.

“There was an air strike on the house. My father and rest of the family were inside,” said Samri, adding he had been out for the evening at the time of the attack in the Shamlan district, northwest Sanaa.

“Six of them were killed and seven wounded.”

The coalition is the only force known to carry out air strikes on Huthi rebel-held territory and has previously admitted to “erroneous” strikes that caused civilian casualties. 

But Maliki insisted the coalition was committed to preventing civilian casualties.

“I would like to reiterate that coalition forces adhere to rules of engagement and international humanitarian law to avoid loss of civilian lives,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 with the aim of rolling back Huthi rebels who had seized the capital and restoring the government to power.

More than 9,300 people have been killed in the war since and more than 50,000 wounded, according to latest figures from the World Health Organization.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose country is a main buyer of British arms, on Wednesday started a controversial three-day visit to Britain. 

The Save the Children charity protested the visit by installing a statue of a child near parliament in London “to draw attention to the violence that is being fuelled, in part, by British-made bombs”.

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