Saudi Arabia says new report “vastly exaggerated” and that rebels used schools, hospitals and mosques as bases.
At least 26 civilians have been killed and 60 wounded in an Arab coalition air strike that hit the rebel-held port city of Hodeidah in western Yemen, according to medics and residents, and the alliance said it was looking into the report.
Medical workers and a resident told Reuters news agency that missiles on Wednesday night hit a residential area where rebel leaders were staying. The raid hit a house in a neighbourhood populated by workers, medical services and local officials said.
In a statement on Thursday, the coalition said it was aware of reports alleging civilian casualties.
“As with any allegation we receive, the information about the incident will be reviewed, and once it is found supporting the allegation based on credible evidence, we will then move to a next step of investigations,” the statement said.
General Ahmed Assiri, the coalition spokesman, told AFP news agency the strikes had targeted “Houthi leaders” in Souq al-Hunod district.
“We had information that they were having a meeting, then we hit them,” he said.
Assiri said the residential neighbourhood was “probably hit in error”.
The deputy governor of Hodeidah province, Hashim Azazi, had earlier put the death toll at 19 civilians, saying, however, that said rescue workers were still pulling victims out of the rubble.
Last week, a report by the Yemen Data Project, a group of security and human rights researchers, found that more than a third of air strikes hit civilian sites including schools, hospitals and mosques.
Out of the more than 8,600 air raids examined, the report found that 3,577 were listed as hitting military sites and 3,158 non-military, while 1,882 strikes were classified as unknown.
Yemen descended into chaos after the 2012 removal of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces are fighting alongside the Houthi fighters.
Security deteriorated further after the Houthis swept into the capital, Sanaa, and pushed south, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government to flee into exile in March last year.
Saudi Arabia, along with a coalition of other Arab states, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 in support of Hadi’s government to defeat the Houthis.