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A third of all Saudi coalition air strikes in Yemen targeted civilians 

March 26, 2020 at 11:35 am

People inspect the wreckage of a collapsed building after an air strike was carried out by the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

Almost a third of all air strikes carried out by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen hit civilian targets, including hospitals, schools and food stores, new information from the Yemen Data Project has revealed. The data has been released on the fifth anniversary of the start of the coalition “intervention” in Yemen.

The findings suggest that over 18,400 civilians have been killed or injured as a result of coalition bomb attacks in its efforts to overthrow the Houthi-aligned National Salvation Government (NSG) and reinstate the exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi who fled the country before resigning and then retracting his decision. According to the Houthi-allied Yemeni military, over 257,000 air strikes have been carried out by the Saudi-led coalition over the past five years. The northern province of Saada, the Houthi stronghold, has been the most heavily targeted.

“The data clearly shows that over the five years [the coalition] has been consistently hitting civilian targets,” said Iona Craig of the Project. “That’s indisputable.” She added that, on average, the coalition’s aggression causes 10 civilian casualties a day. “It’s not just hospitals and medical facilities you have to take into account. It’s the bombing of water and electricity infrastructure, the impact on food supply lines with food storage facilities and crucial road bridges being hit too.”

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Of the civilians killed, it is believed that a quarter were women and children, marking 70 per cent of the total civilian death toll, the Independent has reported. The Project also claimed that coalition aircraft have bombed medical facilities including hospitals and clinics 83 times. Over 60 food stores have also been hit, alongside 134 water and electricity facilities.

According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED), which has collected data in partnership with the Yemen Data Project, the war has claimed the lives of more than 112,000 people. The previous year was the most violent to date, with over 25,000 fatalities reported.

Following calls by UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres earlier this week for a ceasefire in Yemen amid growing fears of the spread of the coronavirus, there have been reports that the Saudis have expressed a willingness to support it, a move that has been welcomed by the Houthi authorities in Sanaa. “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives,” said Guterres. Coved-19 is, he added, the world’s “common enemy”.

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