Yemen: School Bus Hit in Airstrike, at Least 30 Children Dead

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August 9, 2018 Last Updated: August 9, 2018

At least 29 children died and 30 children were injured in a Saudi coalition airstrike in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The Red Cross said it received the bodies of 29 kids under the age of 15.

“Our teams are working to save as many people as they can. Causalities from today’s attack continue to arrive,” the Red Cross stated on Aug. 9. “We have dispatched medical equipment to another hospital in Sa’ada, to help them cope with the influx of patients.”

The children were traveling on a school bus that was hit by a Saudi coalition airstrike in Dahyan, the BBC reported.

“Our staff are telling us that the students were on their way back to school from a picnic when the driver stopped to get a drink. The attack happened while the bus was stationary. We are unable to verify the details at this moment,” Save the Children wrote on Aug. 9.

“There is no military solution to this conflict. Only a political solution can bring the war to an end and reinstate peace in Yemen. We urge all parties to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities, return to the negotiation table to commit to a ceasefire and cooperate with the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. Spare the Yemeni people more death and misery,” said Sylvia Ghaly of Save the Children.

“This is yet another example of the blatant violations of international humanitarian law that we have seen in Yemen over the past three years–from indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians, denial of access to humanitarian aid and the use of starvation as a weapon of war–it’s the people of Yemen, not the warring parties, who are paying the ultimate price. This is why we need an independent investigation into attacks on civilians so that perpetrators can be held to account,” Ghaly added.

Yemen’s rebel-run Health Ministry said that at least 43 died in the attack, NBC News reported.

The Red Cross Yemen branch noted that under international humanitarian law, civilians should be protected during times of war.

The Saudi government issued a statement on Aug. 9 and described the strike as “a legitimate military action” and was “conducted in conformity with the international humanitarian law.”

“The [Saudi-led coalition] will take all necessary measures against the terrorist, criminal acts of the terrorist Iranian-Houthi militia, such as recruiting child soldiers, throwing them in battlefields and using them as tools and covers to their terrorist acts,” Saudi military spokesman Turki AlMalki said in a statement.

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Houthi militants responsible for firing ballistic missiles and targeting civilians “will be held accountable,” said the Saudi statement.

The Houthis have fired a number of ballistic missiles at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and other cities. Reuters reported that the militants have fired dozens of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, often intercepted by Saudi forces.

In July, a Badr 1 missile was fired at Jizan Economic City, where Saudi Aramco is building a 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery. It’s not clear if there was any damage or casualties.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates got involved in Yemen’s civil war in 2015.