News ID: 213791
Published: 1114 GMT April 23, 2018

23 killed, 40 wounded in Saudi raid on Yemen wedding

23 killed, 40 wounded in Saudi raid on Yemen wedding

At least 23 people were killed and scores more wounded in an air raid carried out by the Saudi-led coalition on a wedding party in Yemen, rescue teams said on Monday.

Rescue teams said the wedding was taking place in the Bani Qais area of Hajjah Province, north of the capital Sana’a, when jets carried out the strike.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Twitter that a hospital it supports in Hajjah received at least 40 patients wounded in the airstrikes.

"Medical teams are working around the clock to provide assistance to the victims," MSF said.

A local official said that at least 23 civilians were killed in the attack.

Khaled al-Nadhri, the top health official in Hajjah, said that most of the dead were women and children who were gathered in one of the tents set up for the wedding party in the district. He said the bride was also among the dead.

Hospital chief Mohammed al-Sawmali said the groom and 45 of the wounded were brought to the local Al-Jomhouri hospital. Health authorities appealed to people to donate blood.

Ali Nasser al-Azib, deputy head of the hospital, said 30 children were among the wounded, some in critical condition with shrapnel wounds and severed limbs.

The double airstrike on the crowded party venue had left a number of dead bodies buried under rubble, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Footage that emerged from the scene of the airstrike showed scattered body parts and a young boy in a green shirt hugging a man's lifeless body, screaming and crying.

Health Ministry spokesman Abdel-Hakim al-Kahlan said ambulances were initially unable to reach the site of the bombing for fear of subsequent airstrikes as the jets continued to fly overhead after the initial strike.

The Al-Masirah Television, run by the Houthi Ansarullah movement, tweeted that at least 33 people were killed and as

Iran’s Foreign Ministry denounced the raid as “barbaric”, saying the escalation of Saudi-led airstrikes on civilians is a “sign of frustration and failure of the aggressors”.

This was the third deadly airstrike in Yemen since the weekend. Another airstrike on Sunday night hit a house elsewhere in Hajjah, killing an entire family of five, according to Al-Nadhri.

On Saturday, at least 20 civilians were killed in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition after fighter jets bombed a bus carrying commuters near the war-torn district of Mowza in western Yemen, near the city of Taiz which has been locked in fighting for three years.

It was not the first deadly strike on a wedding during Yemen's conflict, which has killed nearly 14,000 people and tens of thousands wounded since the coalition intervened in March 2015.

In late 2015, coalition airstrikes on two wedding parties in northern Yemen killed at least 159 civilians.

Airstrikes has also hit funerals. In October 2016, 140 mourners were killed during an air raid on a house in Sana’a.

According to the independent monitor Yemen Data Project, a third of the 16,847 airstrikes since the war started have hit non-military targets.

Yemen's conflict has sparked what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

UN officials and rights groups accused the coalition of committing war crimes and of being responsible for most of the killings. Airstrikes have hit weddings, funerals, busy markets, hospitals, and schools.

AFP and AP contributed to this story.



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