Air Strike On Yemen Prison Leaves At Least 70 Dead

No fewer than 70 people were killed in an air strike on a prison on Friday as Yemen’s long-running conflict suffered a dramatic escalation that has now drawn condemnation from UN chief Antonio Guterres.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the Huthi rebels released gruesome video footage showing bodies in the rubble and mangled corpses from the attack, which levelled buildings at the prison in their northern heartland of Saada.

Further south in the port city of Hodeida, about three children were reported dead when air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit a telecommunications facility as they played nearby, Save the Children said. Yemen also suffered a country-wide internet blackout.

‘The children were reportedly playing on a nearby football field when missiles struck,’ Save the Children said.

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Eight aid agencies operating in Yemen said in a joint statement they were ‘horrified by the news that more than 70 people, including migrants, women and children, have been killed… in a blatant disregard for civilian lives’.

They said the prison in Saada was used as a holding centre for migrants, who made up many of the casualties.

However, the United Arab Emirates insisted that it and other coalition members remained committed to ‘proportionate’ responses to Huthi attacks.

‘The coalition undertakes to abide by international law and proportionate response in all its military operations,’ UAE ambassador to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh said.

The strikes came after the Huthis took the seven-year war into a new phase by claiming a drone and missile attack on Abu Dhabi that killed three people on Monday.

They came as the UN Security Council met to discuss that attack at the UAE’s request.

The council unanimously condemned the ‘heinous terrorist attacks’ by the Yemeni rebels, but in a statement before the meeting the council’s Norwegian presidency also strongly condemned the latest violence.

‘It’s not acceptable,’ Norwegian ambassador Mona Juul said of the strikes, calling for ‘de-escalation and restraint’.

In a later statement, the UN said Guterres ‘reminds all parties that attacks directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited by international humanitarian law.’

Aid workers said hospitals in Saada were overwhelmed after the prison attack, with one receiving 70 dead and 138 wounded, according to Doctors Without Borders.

Two other hospitals have received ‘many wounded’ and as night fell, the rubble was still being searched, the aid agency said.

AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK

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