Coalition says deadly Yemen raid hit rebels, not school

“The coalition denied targeting a school,” coalition spokesman General Ahmed Assiri said in an English-language statement. (File photo: Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition on Sunday denied targeting a school in Yemen’s rebel-held north in an attack that an international relief agency said killed 10 children.

“The coalition denied targeting a school,” coalition spokesman General Ahmed Assiri said in an English-language statement to AFP.

“The aircraft has bombed a training camp for the coup militias... in Saada,” he said, referring to the Iran-backed Houthi militias which he accused of using “children as recruits.”

The Paris-based Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said 10 children were killed and 28 wounded Saturday in coalition air strikes on a school in Haydan, a town in rebel-held Saada province.

MSF spokeswoman Malak Shaher told AFP that the casualties the agency received at a field hospital were all under 15 and the “victims of air strikes on a Koranic school in Haydan.”

But Assiri said the Yemeni government had confirmed to the coalition that “there is no school in this area.”

“The site that was bombed... is a major training camp for militia,” he said. “Why would children be at a training camp?”

“When jets target training camps they cannot distinguish between ages” of recruits, Assiri said.

The Saudi Press Agency said previously that coalition warplanes struck a Houthi “training center” on Saturday in Saada, killing several insurgents, including a leader it identified as Yehya Munassar Abu Rabua.

Assiri said that MSF’s toll only “confirms the Houthis practice of recruiting and subjecting children to terror.”

“They recruit children and use them as scouts, guards, messengers and fighters,” he said, noting previous reports from Human Rights Watch on rebels recruiting children.

“We would have hoped MSF would take measures to stop the recruitment of children to fight in wars instead of crying over them in the media.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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