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UN Panel Alleges Violations of International Law in Yemen

FILE - Policemen gather at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike on the police headquarters in Sana'a, Yemen, Jan. 18, 2016.

A U.N. panel is asking the Security Council to set up an inquiry into alleged violations of international law by all sides in Yemen.

The experts say in a new report, obtained by media outlets Tuesday, that the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes on Houthi rebels launched 119 sorties that may have broken humanitarian laws. The report says many of those airstrikes hit civilian targets, including refugee camps, weddings, schools, markets and residential neighborhoods.

They say there were at least three incidents of civilians being chased by helicopters whose occupants were shooting at them.

Their report also describes tactics that “constitute the prohibited use of starvation as a method of warfare.”

“Not a single humanitarian pause to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people has been fully observed by any Yemeni party or by the coalition,” the report says.

The experts were not allowed on the ground in Yemen and relied on satellite images and other sources.

U.N. experts say more than 82 percent of the Yemeni population is in dire need of food and medical care.

The Saudi-led coalition, backed by Yemeni and Arab ground forces, is fighting to push out the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sana’a.

The war has killed more than 5,800 people, many of them civilians. U.N. efforts to put together a lasting cease-fire have failed.

The internationally recognized Yemeni government recently returned from exile in Saudi Arabia to set up shop in the port city of Aden.