US-backed Saudi air strike kills civilians, including children

Saudi jets.
July 22, 2017

The United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on July 19 that an airstrike carried out by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed 20 civilians — including women and children — who were fleeing violence in their home province.

The agency said in statement: “Most of those killed are believed to be from the same family.”

Those killed in the air strike were among the more than 2 million internally displaced Yemenis “who have fled elsewhere across Yemen since the beginning of the conflict, but continue to be exposed to danger as the conflict has affected all of Yemen's mainland governorates,” the UN noted.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which includes an increasingly worrisome cholera outbreak, has been characterised as among the world’s worst.

“The people of Yemen are being subjected to deprivation, disease, and death as the world watches,” Stephen O’Brien, the UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said in a recent speech to the UN Security Council.

“Crisis is not coming, it is not looming, it is here today — on our watch and ordinary people are paying the price.”

William Spindler, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the July 18 strike, “once again demonstrates the extreme dangers facing civilians in Yemen, particularly those attempting to flee violence, as they disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict”.

“It also illustrates the difficulties in the delivery of humanitarian protection and assistance in Yemen,” Spindler added.

News of the latest deadly air strike comes as the Donald Trump administration is under fire for continuing to sell weapons to and heap praise upon the Saudi regime, which has been accused of intentionally targeting Yemeni civilians.

It also came as the Saudi-led coalition blocked a flight destined for Yemen’s capital because international journalists were aboard, according to Reuters.

The move was denounced by critics as an effort to suppress reporting on the US-Saudi air campaign in the country and its devastating humanitarian consequences.

[Abridged from Common Dreams.]

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