Saudi-led coalition probes deadly strike on hospital

Workers collecting human remains at the Yemen hospital after it was hit during an air strike. Doctors Without Borders said 11 people were killed and more than 19 wounded in the strike.
Workers collecting human remains at the Yemen hospital after it was hit during an air strike. Doctors Without Borders said 11 people were killed and more than 19 wounded in the strike.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH • The Saudi-led coalition bombing rebels in Yemen launched an investigation yesterday following international condemnation of an air raid that Doctors Without Borders said killed 11 people at a hospital it supports.

More than 19 people were also wounded in the strike that hit the hospital in Abs in the rebel-held northern province of Hajjah, the Paris-based aid agency said. A Doctors Without Borders staffer was among the dead, it added.

The hospital strike is the latest in a series of coalition raids that allegedly hit civilian facilities - including a school last week, in which 10 children were killed.

The coalition launched the bombing campaign in March last year after Shi'ite Huthi rebels seized large parts of Yemen. It stepped up air strikes this month after United Nations-mediated peace talks between the rebels and Yemen's internationally backed government were suspended.

The US, a key Saudi ally, raised concerns about the reports, with State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau saying: "Strikes on humanitarian facilities, including hospitals, are particularly concerning."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon condemned the strike, saying he was "deeply disturbed" by the intensification of air raids in Yemen.

A Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), composed of members of the coalition, said it was aware of the reports and "has urgently launched an independent investigation". It promised to publicly announce findings of the probe.

The 14-member JIAT was set up as a standing investigation team following mounting criticism of the civilian death toll from the bombing campaign.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Saudi-led coalition probes deadly strike on hospital'. Print Edition | Subscribe