Saudi-led coalition denies attack on Yemeni civilians


The Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen's rebel Houthi group on Tuesday denied targeting civilians in the northern Saada province.

Last week, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said 12 civilians, including children, were killed in an airstrike on their home in Saada.

Though McGoldrick did not mention the Saudi-led coalition, he said the airstrike showed a complete "disregard" for human life.

In a statement, coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malk said his forces had not carried out any airstrikes in Saada on Friday.

"The joint command has completed after-action review for operations that have been conducted last Friday and reviewed all operational tasks conducted in Saada province, revealing that there is no proof of the false allegation," he said in a statement cited by the official Saudi Press Agency SPA.

The spokesman said the coordinator's statements were based on "personal estimates rather than a fair and systematic investigation".

"The statements were apparently issued upon unconfirmed field reports which could have been more accurate if they had patience, credibility and evidence," he said.

On Monday, UNICEF Resident Representative in Yemen Meritxell Relano said more than 200 children have been killed in war-battered Yemen this year.

Impoverished Yemen fell into civil war in 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in 2015 aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen's embattled government.

Over 3 million people have fled their homes since the onset of the conflict, and more than 20 million throughout the country are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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