An airstrike on a hospital in Yemen Tuesday killed seven people including four children, said a humanitarian group.
The global charity Save the Children, which supports the medical facility, is calling for a swift investigation into the incident and a suspension of arms sales to all parties to the conflict—including American arms-recipent Saudi Arabia.
“We are shocked and appalled by this outrageous attack," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, in a statement. "Innocent children and health workers have lost their lives in what appears to been an indiscriminate attack on a hospital in a densely populated civilian area. Attacks like these are a breach of international law."
"The Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the United States, is the only party in the war using warplanes, mostly American and British-made fighter jets," as the Washington Post noted. Moreover, "the United States helps the Saudi coalition warmakers choose their targets," wrote peace activist and author Kathy Kelly.
A hospital we support in Saada #Yemen was bombed today. 7 ppl, inc. 4 children lost their lives. We condemn this attack, particularly as the conflict in Yemen enters its 5th year today. Children, civilians & hospitals are #NotATarget. https://t.co/oGi3RHHu17 #STOPTHEWARONCHILDREN pic.twitter.com/oyjqXEUerX— Save the Children US (@SavetheChildren) March 26, 2019
According to Save the Children, the missile hit a gas station less than 50 yards from the Kitaf Hospital's main entrance. Open for just 30 minutes when the bombing took place, the hospital was busy with staff and patients entering, said the aid group.
Miles said her agency is providing urgent aid to children who "have the right to be safe in their hospitals, schools, and homes. But time after time, we see a complete disregard by all warring parties in Yemen for the basic rules of war. Children must be protected. We must stop this war on children."
The escalation in the conflict, which marked its four-year anniversary on Tuesday, has devastated infrastructure of the already impoverished country. It has been marked by attacks on civilian targets including medical facilities and a school bus, as well as accusations of war crimes.
In a Twitter thread, Yemen researcher at human rights group Amnesty pointed out how medical facilities have been repeatedly attacked during the conflict, and said the latest strike "shows that after more than four years of devastating conflict, the coalition is unrepentant in its complete disregard for the laws of war."
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"Deliberately attacking a functioning hospital is a war crime," she wrote.
A #Saudi #UAE Coalition airstrike that hit another hospital in northern #Yemen yesterday, killing 7 people including 4 children, shows that after more than 4 years of devastating conflict, the Coalition is unrepentant in its complete disregard for the laws of war #YemenCantWait pic.twitter.com/UongUq1Zbt— Rasha Mohamed (@RashaMoh2) March 27, 2019
A gentle reminder that #Saudi signed a memorandum of understanding with the @UNHumanRights Special Representative for Children & Armed Conflict to reinforce the “protection of children” affected by the conflict in Yemen #YemenCantWait— Rasha Mohamed (@RashaMoh2) March 27, 2019
@Amnesty has documented how all parties to the conflict have attacked or militarized hospitals and harassed medical staffers. In November 2018, Amnesty documented how #Huthi fighters took up positions atop a hospital roof in #Hodeidah https://t.co/RyzWxlwBnB— Rasha Mohamed (@RashaMoh2) March 27, 2019
International humanitarian law is crystal clear; hospitals carrying out their medical functions are #NotATarget – the rural #Saada hospital was clearly a functioning hospital at the time of attack. Deliberately attacking a functioning hospital is a war crime #YemenCantWait— Rasha Mohamed (@RashaMoh2) March 27, 2019
"After four years of bloodshed in the Arab world’s poorest country, Yemenis can no longer bear the catastrophic humanitarian impact of the war," said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East campaigns director, in a statement on Monday.
"The international community must step up efforts to ensure that civilians are protected, obstacles to humanitarian assistance and arbitrary restrictions on import of essential goods are lifted, and impunity for war crimes and other violations is ended," she said.