Scores killed as fresh 'double-tap' airstrike targets Yemen funeral

Scores killed as fresh 'double-tap' airstrike targets Yemen funeral
If confirmed, the strike would be the second such attack in six months, after the Saudi-coalition agreed to stop similar attacks because of the extraordinarily high civilian death count.
2 min read
15 February, 2017
A Yemeni stands at the site of a double-tap airstrike in Sana'a in October [AFP]

At least five people were reported killed and dozens wounded in a purported Saudi-led coalition 'double-tap' airstrike on a funeral in Sana'a, Yemen.

Yemen's Houthi rebels and other officials said the first airstrike hit a group of women attending a funeral in the Arhab neighbourhood of Sana'a and the second strike hit a group of emergency responders minutes later.

The coalition may have broken international humanitarian law [IHL] for the second time in six months, after a UN panel of experts found a similar double-tap attack on a funeral in October "violated its obligations".

Medical responders, speaking anonymously, said five bodies were initially recovered from the home of Sheikh Mohammad Hadi al-Najaii, but this number was expected to rise.

A 'double-tap' strike is when an airstrike is quickly followed by a second air-strike in the same area, with the effect of killing and injuring medical first responders.

A Saudi-led double airstrike on a civilian funeral in October was widely criticised by the international community, after it left hundreds of civilians, including medical responders, dead and wounded.

Following this incident, the UN panel of experts requested the coalition to "refrain from using the 'double-tap' attack tactic during airstrikes", as it "nearly always leads to fatalities and injuries to first responders, including medical personnel and units."

According to a report by the Yemen Data Project, a group of human rights researchers, a third of coalition airstrikes in Yemen were on non-military areas. Saudi Arabia has responded to the report, describing the data as "vastly over-exaggerated".

In September 2014, the Houthi rebels, a group which Saleh had previously fought when in power, aligned with the ousted leader to bring down the new interim president (a former VP and close confidante of Saleh).

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign to help the internationally recognised government regain control of territory lost to the Houthi rebels.

Figures suggest more than 10,000 people, half of which civilians, have died since this intervention, while 3 million more were forced into displacement.​