Rebels welcome call for investigation into airstrike in Yemen that killed children

Residences in Jizan hit by the shrapnel after Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi rebels. SPA

Residences in Jizan hit by the shrapnel after Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi rebels. SPA

The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels announced on Friday an investigation into an airstrike on a bus that killed at least 29 children, as pressure mounted on the US -backed military coalition over the deadly strike.

"Our shops were open and shoppers were walking around as usual".

Boys inspect graves prepared for victims of Thursday's air strike in Saada province, Yemen August 10, 2018.

The children were on their way to summer camps, Yahya Sha'em, head of the Houthi-held health office in Saada told CNN.

White plastic body bags filled the floor of a room in the ICRC-supported hospital.

Most of those killed were children under the age of 15. who were on a school trip at the time.

The coalition, which also includes the United Arab Emirates, intervened in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government after the rebels drove it out of the capital Sanaa.

UN-brokered negotiations on Yemen broke down in 2016 amid demands for a rebel withdrawal from key cities and power-sharing with the Saudi-backed government.

"Parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them, including Security Council members, can and should choose to end this catastrophe for the sake of Yemen's children", Mrs Fore said.

Also, the United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who has been pushing for peace efforts in the war-torn country, said he was "deeply shocked by the appalling tragedy that claimed so many innocent lives".

The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Yemen, Nevio Zagaria, said it has deployed emergency supplies.

The alliance says it does not intentionally target civilians and has set up a committee to probe alleged mass casualty air strikes, which has mostly cleared the coalition of any blame. "The attack on civilians is not acceptable".

Asked if the White House and the State Department were offering differing views, the spokeswoman said: "We have the same position".

"Today's attack in Saada was a legitimate military operation. and was carried out in accordance with worldwide humanitarian law", the coalition said in the Arabic-language statement carried by SPA.

Save the Children said it "condemns this horrific attack and is calling for a full, immediate, and independent investigation into this and other recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure".

It was not immediately clear whether the bus was the target of the air strike, but coalition spokesman Col Turki al-Malki said the attack was "a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with worldwide humanitarian law".

Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have launched a barrage of domestically-designed and -manufactured ballistic missiles at military bases and key facilities in Saudi Arabia's southwestern border region of Jizan in relation to the Riyadh regime's devastating military aggression against their homeland.

One person was killed in that attack, Saudi state media reported.

Saada has come under strikes from the coalition as the mountainous province makes battles hard for pro-government ground troops.

The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and driven the country to the verge of starvation, according to the United Nations.

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