EU: Saada bombing shows civilians bear brunt of war

Death of at least 20 in Saudi coalition attack on market is a stark reminder that civilians bear brunt of war, says EU.

A man walks in front of a fire that broke out at the site of a Saudi-led air strike which hit a car repair workshop in the northwestern city of Saada
The EU has urged regional players to find a diplomatic solution for Yemen [Reuters]

The European Union has expressed concern over civilian deaths in Yemen after Saudi-led forces killed at least 20 civilians in an air raid last week.

The bombing of a market in the northern Saada province was a “stark reminder that Yemeni civilians are the ones bearing the brunt of a war that has devastated their country,” the EU said in a statement on Monday.

The war in Yemen threatens to undermine regional stability, the bloc said, reiterating a call for dialogue.

“The EU is increasingly worried by the humanitarian situation in the country, on the verge of widespread famine and most recently hit by a cholera outbreak.”

Speaking from Brussels, Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker said that the EU expressed “unreserved condemnation” of the attack.

“The EU has not said who they believe carried out the attack but have urged all regional players to seek a diplomatic solution for this conflict,” he said.

Fears are growing here about the humanitarian crisis, he added.

Yet Baraa Shiban, a human rights researcher based in London, told Al Jazeera that the EU’s condemnation of the attack is not “substantial”.

“The EU hasn’t really addressed the underlying issues, and there hasn’t been work towards bringing all the parties together,” Shiban said. ” Millions of Yemenis are waiting for peace talks so they can resume their normal lives.”

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The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out aerial bombings in the impoverished country for more than two years against Houthi rebels.

The country has since been plunged into a civil war in which the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, is trying to roll back gains made by the Iran-aligned Houthi group that controls most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

In March, an air raid by Saudi-led forces killed 22 people and wounded dozens when it struck a market in western Yemen near the Red Sea fishing town of Khoukha.

The war in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than three million and ruined much of the impoverished country’s infrastructure.

In March, the UN World Food Programme said that nearly half of Yemen’s 22 provinces were on the verge of famine.

In recent weeks, more than 900 people have died of cholera in the second outbreak of the deadly infection in less than a year.

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Source: Al Jazeera