UN Yemen envoy calls for investigation after strikes kill civilians

The United Nations said 11 civilians were killed in airstrikes Wednesday in al-Jawf province in northern Yemen.

al-monitor A boy who was injured in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's northern al-Jawf province receives treatment at a hospital in the capital, Sanaa, on July 16, 2020. Photo by Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 16, 2020

The United Nations envoy for Yemen called for a full investigation into airstrikes that killed at least 11 civilians in northern Yemen this week. 

“We deplore yesterday's air strikes in #AlJawf,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths tweeted. “A thorough [and] transparent investigation is required.”

The UN's humanitarian affairs office said 11 civilians were killed in airstrikes Wednesday in the al-Hazm district of al-Jawf province. The Houthi health ministry put the death toll at 24.  

The air raids, which the Houthi rebels blamed on the Saudi-led military coalition, were the third such strikes since June. Days earlier, an airstrike in the northwestern province of Hajjah left seven children and two women dead, the humanitarian affairs office said. 

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki told Reuters the incidents would be investigated.

"We take this report very seriously and it will be fully investigated as all reports of this nature are, using an internationally approved, independent process," Malki said.

The reports come as the coalition said it had intercepted a number of cross-border missiles launched by the Houthis in recent weeks. The Houthis claimed to have struck a large oil facility overnight Sunday in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Jizan. 

A civil war pitting the Iran-aligned Houthis against the Saudi coalition has killed thousands of civilians since 2014 and left nearly 80% of the population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, the UN estimates. 

With the coronavirus poised to exacerbate what is already considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the UN has repeatedly warned Yemen can’t fight both a war and a pandemic. A unilateral cease-fire designed to stave off the virus expired in late May. 

“What we’re seeing is horrible,” said Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. “The only way civilians will be safe in Yemen is when the parties finally decide to stop fighting."



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