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Saudi airstrike Yemen

A Yemeni inspects the damage caused by a January 18, 2022 Saudi-led airstrike on the home of a high-ranking Houthi military official in Yemen's capital of Sanaa. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

Civilians Reportedly Among 20 Yemenis Killed in Saudi Airstrike

The people of Yemen "can't wait any longer for peace," says an Oxfam director. "The international community must urgently negotiate an immediate cessation in hostilities and a lasting end to the conflict."

Brett Wilkins

Human rights defenders on Tuesday decried Saudi-led airstrikes that killed at least 20 people in Yemen's capital city of Sanaa, the U.S.-backed coalition's deadliest attacks since 2019.

"The increase in fighting in Yemen is having a deadly impact and once again it is civilians that are paying the price."

Reuters reports civilians were killed when warplanes bombed the home of Abdullah Qassim al-Junaid, the former head of the Houthis' aviation college. Al-Junaid, his wife and son, and other relatives died in the attack, according to local residents and medical sources.

Muhsin Sidiqquey, Oxfam's country director in Yemen, said in a statement that "the increase in fighting in Yemen is having a deadly impact and once again it is civilians that are paying the price."

"The people of Yemen have been caught in the crossfire of this violent conflict for nearly seven years," he continued. "They can't wait any longer for peace―the international community must urgently negotiate an immediate cessation in hostilities and a lasting end to the conflict."

Sidiqquey added that "all parties to the conflict must respect international humanitarian and human rights law and ensure the safety and protection of civilians."

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, said she was "deeply concerned" by the "continuing escalation" in Yemen.

"We call on all parties to

Reuters reports civilians were killed when Saudi warplanes bombed the home of Abdullah Qassim al-Junaid, the former head of the Houthi rebels' aviation college. Al-Junaid, his wife and son, and other relatives died in the attack, according to local residents and medical sources.
Muhsin Sidiqquey, Oxfam's ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, in line with their obligations under international law," Shamdasani said in a statement. "Any attack, including airstrikes should fully respect the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack. In particular, parties to the conflict must take all feasible measures to verify that targets are indeed military objectives and suspend an attack if it becomes apparent that the target is not a military objective or that the attack would be disproportionate."

"Failure to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality could amount to war crimes," she added.

The Saudi airstrikes came in response to a Monday drone and missile attack claimed by the Houthis that hit two sites in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital of Abu Dhabi. The attack ignited a fuel tank blast at a state-owned facility, killing three migrant workers—two Indians and a Pakistani—and wounding six others.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday condemned the Houthi attack, asserting "there is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen."

The UAE is a member of the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition that is supporting the Yemeni government in its war against the Iran-linked Houthi rebels.

Since intervening in Yemen's civil war in 2015, the coalition has carried out more than 24,000 airstrikes, according to the Yemen Data Project, often with U.S.-made warplanes and bombs. The group says the coalition strikes— one-third of which have hit non-military sites including schools, factories, and hospitals—have killed or wounded more than 17,700 civilians.

Advocates point to a surge in both Saudi airstrikes and civilian casualties since the United Nations Human Rights Council ended its probe of war crimes committed by all sides in Yemen last October.

According to the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, 29 civilians including three children were killed, and another 23 injured, last week alone.

Last November, the United Nations Development Program said that the more than seven-year civil war would claim 377,000 Yemeni lives from direct and indirect causes by the end of 2021. More than four million Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict, and millions more face starvation.


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