Grief and anger has gripped Yemen’s war-ravaged province of Saada a day after the Saudi-UAE military alliance, backed by the US, bombed a school bus carrying children heading to a Quran class.
Al Masirah, a pro-Houthi TV network, said at least 50 people, including dozens of children, were killed in the attack which struck the bus as it was approaching a crowded market in Dahyan city.
Johannes Bruwer, the head of a delegation for the International Committee of the Red Crescent (ICRC) in Yemen, said in a Twitter post that according to local officials, 77 were also injured.
“Of these, the ICRC hospital in Al Talh received 30 dead and 48 injured, of which the vast majority were children.”
Mohammed Jabber Awad, the governor of Saada, told local media that the bus was carrying 30 students, but as many as 60 people may have been killed in the raid.
Hussain al-Bukhaiti, a pro-Houthi activist, told that the death toll was expected to rise in the coming days.
“Most of the hospitals and clinics in Saada have either been completely destroyed or are badly damaged, and most lack basic medicines. So how will they treat the wounded?” he said.
According to the ICRC, one of the few humanitarian institutions helping civilians in the country, all of the children who were admitted to its hospital were under the age of 15.
The Saudi-UAE alliance later issued a statement to the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network confirmed it launched attacks on Saada, and accused Houthi fighters of using the children as human shields.
“[The air strikes] conformed to international and humanitarian laws,” a statement quoting coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said.