Yemen's Shiite rebels welcome UN call for Saudi strike probe

Yemen's Shiite rebels welcome UN call for Saudi strike probe

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the conflict in Yemen in 2015, in an attempt to restore the internationally recognised government to power after it was driven out by Houthi rebels in the capital.

"Parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them, including Security Council members, can and should choose to end this catastrophe for the sake of Yemen's children", Mrs Fore said.

The head of the Houthis' supreme revolutionary committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, hailed Friday's call by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for an independent investigation into the air strike.

UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement Friday that the "horrific " attack "marks a low point" in Yemen's brutal war.

"The coalition will take all necessary measures against the terrorist, criminal acts of the Huthi militia, such as recruiting child soldiers, throwing them in battlefields and using them as tools", coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said, referring to Thursday's attack.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Yemen, Nevio Zagaria, said it has deployed emergency supplies.

"The civilian people are not our target, our strategic objective is to get back the legitimate government, which is recognized by the worldwide community", he added. "The attack on civilians is not acceptable".

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation of the raid which hit the bus as it drove through a market in Dahyan, a town in the Houthis' home province of Saada.

Asked if the White House and the State Department were offering differing views, the spokesperson said: "We have the same position". Its airstrikes have obliterated entire civilian neighborhood, including schools and hospitals, and compounded the misery of what is one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.

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"(The air strikes) conformed to global and humanitarian laws", the coalition statement said, quoting spokesman Colonel Turki al Malki.

The coalition called Thursday's airstrike against the Houthis "a legitimate military operation.carried out in accordance with global humanitarian law".

A senior official in the Arab Coalition backing legitimacy in Yemen has said that the leadership of the coalition has seen what the media and some of the sites of relief organizations operating in Yemen have reported about the Saada incident.

The Saudi-led coalition, which has been at war with the Houthis for more than three years, said the attack on Saada was in response to a missile fired by the rebels into the kingdom's south a day earlier.

On Aug 2, attacks on a hospital and a fish market in the strategic rebel-held port city of Hodeida killed at least 55 civilians and wounded 170, according to the ICRC.

The Houthi-affiliated health ministry now says the death toll from the strike has risen to 51 in total, including 40 children, with a further 79 injured.

Saada, the main stronghold of the Houthis, has mainly come under air strikes from the coalition as the mountainous province makes battles hard for pro-government ground troops.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, and the United Nations says the war has created the world's most urgent humanitarian disaster, with millions of people totally dependent on aid and at risk of starvation if supply lines are cut.

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