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UN chief condemns Saudi coalition strike on Yemen 

January 23, 2022 at 10:01 am

Yemenis inspect the damage after the Saudi-led coalition carried out air strikes on Sanaa, Yemen. [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

The head of the United Nations (UN) has condemned the Saudi-led military coalition’s strikes on Yemen Friday, which killed over 70 people.

Following a strike by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this week, the Saudi-led military coalition conducted a series of strikes on Yemen, one of which hit a detention centre holding migrants in the north-western city of Sa’ada.

The casualties were staggeringly high but were disputed by various groups, with the Houthis and an aid group claiming that 82 had been killed, the Red Cross in Yemen claiming that over 100 had been killed and wounded, and others putting the number even higher.

The chief of the UN Antonio Guterres has now added to the numerous statements of condemnation from around the world, with his spokesman Stephane Dujarric stating that “The Secretary-General calls for prompt, effective and transparent investigations into these incidents to ensure accountability.”

Dujarric also said that Guterres maintains that all parties in Yemen are obliged to “ensure that civilians are protected against the dangers arising from military operations, adhering to the principles of proportionality, distinction and precaution.”

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The Saudi-led coalition has denied that it carried out the strike, however, with its spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Malki claiming that the Houthis did not report to the UN or the Red Cross that the site needed to be protected from airstrikes. That resulted in the Houthis’ “usual deceptive approach,” according to al-Malki.

A telecommunications facility was also struck, which caused the internet to remain down in the area on Saturday. Although it did not mention such a facility, the coalition did admit to carrying out a strike in that area around the port of Hodeida, referring to “accurate air strikes to destroy the capabilities of the [Houthi] militia.”

The strikes on the UAE and on Yemen came only a day after the UN envoy to Yemen met with Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of defence and both discussed ways to end the war in the war-torn southern Arabian country.

The significant number of casualties from the coalition’s strike on Sa’ada – which reportedly killed a large number of African migrants, as well as women and children – comes at a time when Riyadh is already being accused of committing severe war crimes throughout its military intervention in Yemen since 2015.

‘UN resolutions have not resolved any conflict. The situation in Palestine is the best evidence for this’