Monday, 06 July, 2020

Over 100 killed in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen prison

Over 100 killed in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen prison Over 100 killed in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen prison
Deanna Wagner | 02 September, 2019, 13:57

Yemeni officials say the airstrikes took place Sunday and targeted a university in the city of Dhamar, which the Houthi rebels use as a detention center.

The center in southwestern Dhamar province had around 170 detainees.

He said the Yemeni Red Crescent Society was still trying to retrieve bodies and that around 50 injured people had been taken to hospital.

"We have seen now under the ruble that there are still many, many dead bodies that its very, very hard to extract", said Rauchenstein.

The coalition has been blacklisted by the United Nations for the killing of children, while Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse the Huthis of using civilians as human shields in densely populated areas.

The U.N. human rights office for Yemen said 52 detainees were among the dead, and at least 68 detainees were still missing.

The air strikes in Dhamar come after the coalition has been distracted in recent weeks by a battle for control of the south, which has pitted two of Riyadh's allies against each other.

The coalition, which intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015, has faced worldwide criticism for airs raids that have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties, killing thousands of Yemeni civilians.

"The explosions were strong and shook the city", a resident said.

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"The enemy targeted prisoners on goal in Dhamar, many of whom were preparing to be released under a prison swap deal", Huthi rebel chief Abdelmalek al-Huthi said in a televised speech on Sunday.

But Huthi television channel Al-Masirah said dozens had been killed and wounded in seven air strikes that hit the building.

"There are three buildings hit and the building where the detainees were located, a lot of them or the majority has been killed", Rauchenstein told Reuters by telephone.

The coalition, whose rights record has been decried by worldwide rights groups, said it had taken measures to protect civilians in Dhamar, claiming the assault complied with global law.

"Yemen has been at the center of my attention", she said in a statement.

Yemen's civil war has claimed tens of thousands of lives, thrust millions to the brink of starvation and spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

In October 2016, an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a prison complex in the Red Sea port of Hodeida, killing at least 58 people, mostly prisoners.

The head of the Houthis' national committee for prisoner affairs, Abdul Qader al-Mortada, said many of those held were due to be released in a local deal to exchange prisoners of war.

The government has accused the UAE of backing a "coup".