State Department Calls For Probe Into Deadly Airstrikes In Yemen

State Department Calls For Probe Into Deadly Airstrikes In Yemen

State Department Calls For Probe Into Deadly Airstrikes In Yemen

"Today's attack in Saada was a legitimate military operation. and was carried out in accordance with global humanitarian law", the Arabic-language statement said.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation of the raid which hit the bus as it drove through a market in Dahyan, a town in the Houthis' home province of Saada.

"The leadership of the coalition has ordered the immediate opening of an investigation to assess the events, clarify their circumstances and announce the results as soon as possible", a senior coalition official said.

The International Committee for the Red Cross said at least 29 children were killed and dozens more injured when the bus was hit in Saada province on Thursday.

Since the war began in 2015, nearly 10,000 people have been killed in what the United Nations has labelled as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement in a three-year-old war, lies on one of the world's most important trade routes for oil tankers, the Bab al-Mandeb strait.

The health ministry run by the rebel Houthi movement put the death toll at 43, and said 61 people were wounded.

The Arab states initially said the air strikes on the bus were "legitimate military action" against missile launchers, carried out in accordance with worldwide humanitarian law.

The ICRC said a hospital it supported in Saada had received the bodies of 29 children, all of them under the age of 15, and 48 injured people, among them 30 children.

Houthi backed television stations broadcast footage of young children receiving treatment in local hospitals.

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told AFP that claims by aid organisations that children were inside the bus were "misleading", and that "the elements inside the bus were Huthi combatants".

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"We call on the Saudi-led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident", said Nauert. "We take all credible accounts of civilian casualties very seriously".

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the airstrike by the US -backed, Saudi-led coalition and called for an "independent and prompt investigation" into the attack in a statement on Thursday.

Still, he called on the warring parties to "engage constructively" in the first round of consultations scheduled for September 6 in Geneva.

A week ago, at least 55 civilians were killed and 170 others wounded in a series of attacks on the rebel-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah.

In this file picture, Yemeni forces prepare to launch a domestically-manufactured Badr-1 ballistic missile at a military site in Saudi Arabia.

It said the air strike was aimed at missile launchers used to attack the southern Saudi city of Jizan on Wednesday, where a Yemeni civilian was killed.

He accused the rebels of using children as "tools and covers for their terrorist acts".

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the conflict in Yemen in 2015, in an attempt to restore the internationally recognised government to power after it was driven out by Houthi rebels in the capital.

"Our support to the coalition consists of aerial refueling and intelligence support to assist our partners in securing their borders from cross-border attacks from the Houthis".

Civilians have been enmeshed over the years in the conflict which has killed over 10,000, crippled the country's health system and pushed it to the brink of starvation. More than 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than half of the country's health facilities are out of service, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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