Cairo Desk, Jan 22 (EFE).- The Saudi-led coalition Saturday denied responsibility for an airstrike that left scores of dead people in a rebel stronghold in northern Yemen, an attack that has triggered an international outcry.
At least 82 people were killed and 266 others were injured on Friday in an airstrike on a detention center in Saada city, according to the Houthi rebels’ health ministry.
The rebels, who control the city, blamed the attack on the coalition that has been targeting Houthi-held areas since 2015.
“These claims adopted by the militia are baseless and unfounded,” the alliance’s spokesman, Turki al Malki, said in a statement, according to the state-run Saudi news agency SPA.
“A comprehensive After Action Review (AAR) has been conducted in accordance with the internal mechanism of the Joint Forces Command of the Coalition, and these claims have been proven groundless,” the statement read.
Al-Malki, however, claimed that the detention center in Saada is not included in the no-attack list “in accordance with the agreed upon mechanism with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Yemen.”
The center “has not been reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and does not adhere to the rules of the International Humanitarian Law concerning detention centers,” the statement ran.
Several parties condemned the attack, which comes days after the coalition carried out its deadliest airstrike on the capital, Sanaa, since 2017, killing 14 people and injuring 11 others, according to the Houthis’ health ministry.
With Tuesday’s strike, the coalition began an intense bombing campaign in response to a Houthi-claimed attack on the international airport and an industrial zone in Abu Dhabi, which left three dead and six wounded.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh on Saturday condemned the Saada airstrikes, criticizing countries that provide support for the coalition’s members.
The countries that arm the coalition intervening forces in Yemen “have caused the bloodshed of Yemeni women and children, and are complicit in these crimes,” he added in a statement on the ministry’s website.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, voiced concerns over the escalation in Yemen after the Saada attack.
“The escalation in fighting only exacerbates a dire humanitarian crisis and the suffering of the Yemeni people,” he said in a statement.
“That is why the United States calls on all parties to the conflict to de-escalate, abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and participate fully in an inclusive UN-led peace process,” he added. EFE