40 children killed in Yemen bus strike: new Red Cross toll

40 children killed in Yemen bus strike: new Red Cross toll
2 min read
14 August, 2018
A new casualty toll announced by the International Committee of the Red Cross said forty children were among 51 people killed in a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus.
Dozens of children were killed in the airstrike on a bus [Getty]

Forty children were among 51 people killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a bus in rebel-held northern Yemen, the Red Cross confirmed in a new toll on Tuesday.

Fifty-six children were also among the 79 people wounded in the strike on Saada province, a rebel stronghold that borders Saudi Arabia, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The new casualty toll came after a mass funeral was held for many of the dead children on Monday at which thousands vented anger against Riyadh and Washington for the continued onslaught.

Mourners raised pictures of the children and shouted slogans against Saudi Arabia and its ally and key arms supplier, the United States. 

On Friday, the UN Security Council called for a "credible" investigation into the deadly strike but stopped short of demanding an independent investigation despite experts and aid groups voicing doubts that a promised coalition probe would provide transparency or accountability.

The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors at the request of five countries on Friday to discuss the Saudi coalition attack, diplomats said.

The meeting was requested by Bolivia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, and Sweden, which are all non-permanent council members.

"We have seen the images of children who died," Dutch Deputy Ambassador Lise Gregoire-van Haaren told reporters. "What is essential at this moment in time is to have a credible and independent investigation." 

It remained unclear whether the council would unite and call for action.

The coalition has been repeatedly blamed for bombing civilians, including a strike on a wedding hall in the Red Sea coastal town of Mokha in September 2015, in which 131 people died. The coalition denied responsibility.

In October 2016, a coalition airstrike killed 140 people at a funeral in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

While the coalition has admitted a small number of mistakes, it accuses the rebels of using civilians as human shields.

The high civilian death toll has been an embarrassment for Washington and other Western governments which supply the coalition with warplanes and other weapons, but Washington continues to provide replacement munitions as well as intelligence and refuelling support for coalition aircraft.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 as Houthi rebel fighters closed in on the last bastion of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people since then, the vast majority of them civilians, and caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab