SANAA, YEMEN (AP) — Airstrikes in northern Yemen killed as many as nine children, a United Nations (UN) official said on Friday, making it the third such attack with significant child deaths in that rebel-controlled region this month.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande said in a statement a group of mostly women and children were hit while they were travelling by road on Thursday. She said it was “shocking and completely, totally unacceptable”.
The statement said at least seven more children and two women were injured, but added that the casualty figures were only preliminary and still under investigation.
The Health Ministry for the Houthi rebels, who control the area where the incident happened, said on Thursday the coalition supporting Yemen’s government conducted six airstrikes in the mountainous northern Yemeni province of Jawf. It said a rough early count indicated more than 20 dead, mostly women and children.
Limited access to Houthi-controlled areas for aid workers and journalists often makes details of attacks difficult to confirm.
A spokesman for the coalition Turki al-Maliki told the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat paper on Friday the coalition was “seriously looking into” the recent allegations of civilian casualties. The coalition, which has been at war with the Houthi rebels for years, has drawn international criticism for errant airstrikes that have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties, killing thousands of civilians.
On July 14, the UN reported that an airstrike in Hajjah province killed seven children, some as young as two-years-old. The next day, the Houthi rebels and aid workers reported an airstrike by the coalition hit a celebration in Jawf for a newborn boy’s circumcision, killing at least 10 civilians, including six children and two women.