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July 5, 2015

Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes in Yemen killed large number of civilians, says Amnesty

Airstrikes carried out by Saudi Arabia-led forces in different parts of Yemen have killed a large number of civilians, demonstrating a failure to abide by the requirements of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International has said.

By Samseer M

Yemen

Airstrikes carried out by Saudi Arabia-led forces in different parts of Yemen have killed a large number of civilians, demonstrating a failure to abide by the requirements of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International has said.

Amnesty concluded after its researchers investigated eight airstrikes in Yemen by the coalition force, including multiple strikes in the capital, Sana’a, during last month.

Amnesty International senior crisis response advisor Donatella Rovera said: "International humanitarian law is clear that belligerents must take all possible steps to prevent or minimise civilian casualties.

"But the cases we have analysed point to a pattern of attacks destroying civilian homes and resulting in scores of civilian deaths and injuries."

"International humanitarian law is clear that belligerents must take all possible steps to prevent or minimise civilian casualties."

Rovera also added that there is no evidence that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition has done anything to avoid such causalities.

The report revealed that at least 54 civilians, including 27 children, 16 women as well as 11 men and a one-day-old infant, have died in these incidents.

Moreover, around 55 people, including 19 children, 19 women and 17 men, survived the airstrikes with injuries.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition spokesman brigadier general Ahmed al-Assiri denied responsibility for the airstrikes in residential areas of Sana’a.

However, according to Amnesty, a fragment of the bomb recovered from a location in an old city in Sana’a has revealed that it comes from a 2,000lb (900kg) bomb, which has been widely used by the coalition in various parts of the country.

In May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed that the Saudi-led Arab coalition used US-supplied, banned cluster munitions to conduct airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebel forces in Yemen.

Cluster munitions contain hundreds of submunitions that explode after spreading out over a wide area. These pose long-term dangers to civilians and are prohibited by a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries, excluding Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the US.


Image: Destroyed home of the al-Akwa family in which five civilians were killed in two consecutive airstrikes on 13 June. Photo: ©Amnesty International.

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