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Saudi-led Coalition Accused of War Crimes

  • Henry Ridgwell

Human rights group Amnesty International accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, claiming hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Amnesty International looked at 13 airstrikes carried out between May and July by the Saudi-led coalition around the northern Houthi stronghold of Sa’da.

Amnesty's Rasha Mohamed said 100 civilians, including 59 children, were killed.

“In one direct airstrike we looked into, and visited the site in July, there was a cluster of nine houses and there were four consecutive airstrikes that were carried out over two hours. Fifty five people were killed, 35 of which were children under the age of 11,” Mohamed said.

Amnesty also claimed to have found the remains of cluster munitions banned under international treaties.

FILE - A boy walks past soldiers from the Saudi-led coalition patrolling a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, Sept. 26, 2015.

FILE - A boy walks past soldiers from the Saudi-led coalition patrolling a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, Sept. 26, 2015.

No Saudi response

Saudi Arabia did not respond directly to Amnesty’s accusations but has said in the past that it only targets rebel fighters, and denies using cluster bombs.

“We are asking for all states to, first of all, suspend, and specifically the United States, their arms transfers to all members of the coalition, given that there are war crimes being committed. And two, for the international community to investigate these war crimes,” Mohamed said.

The United Nations’ human rights body issued a report last month detailing alleged violations of international law by all sides in the conflict.

"The report ... does not at any point accuse the coalition forces of deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, although it does catalog several specific incidents involving airstrikes which cause large numbers of civilian casualties," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In the six months since April, the United Nations said more than 2,350 civilians have been killed in the conflict.

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