At least seven people have been killed and a further eight injured after a missile struck a rural hospital in northwest Yemen on the conflict’s fourth anniversary, charity Save the Children said on Tuesday.
The NGO, which supports the facility, said the missile struck a petrol station near the entrance of the Kitaf hospital around 9.30 local time, just half an hour after opening time, when it was busy with patients and staff arriving for the day. A health worker, four children, and a security guard are among those killed. Save the Children said the missile landed less than 50 yards from the hospital’s main building.
“We are shocked and appalled by this outrageous attack,” Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s President and CEO said. “Innocent children and health workers have lost their lives in what appears to [have] been an indiscriminate attack on a hospital in a densely populated civilian area.”
Miles noted that attacks such as these were “a breach of international law,” and slammed the “complete disregard” by all warring parties in Yemen “for the basic rules of war.” Reiterating their previously released figures that foreign bombs killed or injured on average 37 Yemeni children a month in the last year, the charity called for an immediate cessation of arms sales to those fighting in Yemen and an investigation into the recent attack.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi Shiite rebels since 2015, after the Houthis toppled the government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi the previous year. Fighting has killed thousands while chronic food shortages and disease has left 80 percent of Yemen’s 24 million people in need of aid, according to UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock.
Enjoying almost complete control of Yemeni airspace and backed by the West with arms, intelligence, and logistics, Saudi-led airstrikes have regularly struck schools, markets and medical facilities in Yemen. Even if conducted, probes by Saudi Arabia into its bombing of non-military targets has been criticized by charities in the past.