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UN Chief Condemns Airstrikes That Hit Hospital in Yemen


U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the airstrikes that hit a hospital in Yemen, noting that hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law.

In a statement Tuesday, Ban called for a prompt and impartial investigation to ensure accountability for the airstrikes, which occurred in north Yemen's Saada province.

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday that Saudi-led airstrikes hit its hospital, but that there were no casualties. The group, known by its French acronym MSF, said the facility was bombed at least twice overnight, causing major damage to the building.

MSF said staff members and critically wounded patients were evacuated from the hospital in between the two airstrikes.

The group's Yemen director Hassan Boucenine criticized the coalition for the air raid, saying Doctors Without Borders recently gave the hospital's GPS coordinates to coalition officials.

In other news, the U.N. refugee agency said almost 70,000 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants mainly from Ethiopia and Somalia have reached Yemen by sea this year, despite the ongoing conflict and deepening humanitarian crisis in the country.

The agency said Yemen now hosts 264,615 refugees, nearly all of whom are Somali.

The airstrikes that hit the hospital occurred in a region controlled by Iranian-backed Shi'ite Houthi forces.

A Saudi-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes in Yemen since late March targeting Houthi rebels who had forced President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to flee the country. Hadi has since returned with the air campaign and ground troops regaining territory the rebels had seized.

Earlier this month, U.S. forces bombed an MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 30 people. An international commission is investigating that attack.

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