Air raid on Yemen funeral ‘kills at least nine women’

Houthi rebels blame Arab coalition for attack on Shiraa village 40km north of capital Sanaa.

The rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike is pictured in Sanaa
Civilian death toll has reached 10,000 in the Yemen conflict, according to the UN [Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Reuters]

At least eight women and a child were killed in an overnight air raid on a funeral reception near the Yemeni capital Sanaa, medics said.

At least 10 more women were reported wounded in the raid on Thursday, which hit the women’s reception area at a funeral in Arhab district, 40km north of Sanaa.

Medics dispatched to the incident identified the bombing site as the residence of Mohammed Al Nakii in the village of Shiraa.

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Houthi rebels, who control the capital, accused a Saudi-backed coalition of carrying out the attack.

A coalition spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

Residents said the raid took place when mourners had gathered to offer condolences after a woman died.

“People heard the sound of planes and started running from the house but then the bombs hit the house directly. The roof collapsed and there was blood was everywhere,” a resident of the village told a Reuters news agency cameraman on Thursday.

Pictures published in local media showed people searching through the rubble of the destroyed house of Nakii, a tribal chief who was said to be allied with Yemen’s Houthi movement.

Last October, 140 people were killed and more than 600 injured in a coalition bombardment of a funeral hall in rebel-controlled Sanaa. 

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At the time, the Saudi-led coalition blamed the bombing on “wrong information” from its Yemeni allies.

Yemen’s internationally recognised government has been locked in conflict with Houthi rebels since late 2014.

The fighting intensified in March 2015 when the Houthis first advanced on the southern city of Aden, prompting Saudi Arabia and its allies to start an air campaign against the group.

The death toll from the October raid was one of the highest in any single incident since the Saudi-led alliance began military operations to try to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power following his ousting by the Houthis.

The UN says the civilian death toll has reached 10,000, with 40,000 wounded.

Source: News Agencies