Just two weeks after a US-Saudi coalition airstrike on a school bus in Yemen killed some 40 children in an event which finally caught international media attention, there’s a new report that coalition jets have struck a camp for internally displaced people in the flashpoint region of Hodeidah.
Pro-Houthi rebel outlets were the first to report the massacre, which was quickly picked up in international media. According to reports, at least 22 children and four women were killed.
“[The victims were] dead children and women. [It was a] disgusting crime,” the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network reported Thursday. Refugees were reportedly fleeing fighting in the area area when the airstrike occurred.
The BBC reports the following based on a United Nation official in the region: “The victims were fleeing fighting in the al-Durayhimi district, south of the port city of Hudaydah, when their vehicle was hit on Thursday. A separate air strike the same day killed four children, according to the UN’s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock.”
The UN quickly weighing in on the attack is significant, given both Saudi and United States recent statements indicating they do not deliberately target civilians or civilian infrastructure.
After the August 9th attack on a school bus in the north of the country, which killed scores of mostly children, the Saudi coalition spokesman defended its actions as “legitimate”.
The BBC continues of the heightened scrutiny regarding US-Saudi coalition war crimes in Yemen:
Mr Lowcock’s statement on Friday confirmed that the victims had been fleeing violence around the rebel-held port city Hudaydah.
He renewed calls for an impartial and independent investigation into air strikes. A report by Human Rights Watch the same day accused the Saudi-led coalition of failing to hold “credible” investigations into such incidents.
The reported attack was condemned by Unicef, Save the Children and other international organisations.
Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent and prompt investigation into Saudi coalition airstrikes on civilian targets, including the August 9 school bus attack.
UNICEF’s regional director in the Middle East and North Africa, had tweeted in the aftermath of the school bus massacre: “NO EXCUSES ANYMORE!!”
Astonishing graphic from @CNN, identifying civilian massacres in Yemen with the bomb makers – Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. This should be standard in war reporting. Searing images. https://t.co/EZqkSsAri6 pic.twitter.com/NWJvPuN7ct
— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) August 18, 2018
There’s further been rising bipartisan support in Congress for cutting off US intelligence support and weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia, especially after it was revealed the specific laser-guided bomb used on the school bus was a US-supplied Lockheed Martin manufactured weapon. The UAE also plays a lead role in air operations over Yemen as a regional US and Saudi ally.
In subsequent statements a Pentagon official told Vox that the US is not going to investigate the origins of the bomb from the August 9th attack, saying, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the US sold to them.” However, a tracking number on the side of a bomb fragment confirms it was supplied by the US, as also recently confirmed by CNN.
The Pentagon has lately claimed to be heavily drawing down its assistance to the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen.