Hundreds of people in Yemen have held a protest to voice their outrage at a recent Saudi airstrike that hit a residential area in the capital Sana’a, killing over a dozen people, including women and children.
Demonstrators convened at the site of the deadly air raid in the southern neighborhood of Faj Atan on Saturday, a day after Saudi warplanes pounded two residential buildings there, killing 14 civilians, including two women and six children, and wounding 16 others.
Many human rights activists also took part in the demonstration, calling on the United Nations to launch an investigation into Saudi crimes against Yemeni civilians.
“We consider the aggression as a crime, a crime against humanity, and a war crime committed against the Yemeni people. I am surprised to find the United Nations and Human Rights Watch or other international organizations speaking about various crimes while the people of Yemen are suffering from crimes and massacres from the first day of aggression until today,” said Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen.
Protesters also carried signs and banners, on which anti-Saudi slogans were written. Children were also seen among demonstrators as a number of them held signs reading, “Stop killing children!”
“All the Yemeni activists demanded in their reports a neutral international commission in order to investigate the crimes committed against civilians,” said Hashem Sharafuddin, a human rights activist.
Yemen’s Attorney General Abdulaziz Al-Baghdadi, who also attended the protest, described the crimes as unprecedented in the history of Yemen “when you see the remains of children.”
The Saudi military said in a rare statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, that “a technical mistake was behind” the deadly Friday air raid, admitting that dozens of Yemeni people had lost their lives due to a so-called glitch.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also strongly denounced that airstrike and said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the carnage.
On August 23, another Saudi strike against a hotel in the Arhab district of Sana’a province killed nearly 50 people and wounded scores of others.
Since March 2015, Yemen has been under heavy airstrikes by Saudi Arabia’s warplanes as part of a brutal war against the Arabian Peninsula country in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh. More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the campaign, and much of the country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been ravaged.
The Saudi war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen, dragging the impoverished nation to the brink of a widespread famine.
The UN has already announced that the Saudi war has left some 17 million Yemenis hungry, nearly seven million facing famine, and about 16 million almost without access to water or sanitation.
Just recently, the Foreign Policy magazine said it had obtained a new confidential draft report by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, saying that Saudi airstrikes had killed 502 Yemeni children and injured 838 others since 2015.
The same report by the UN also revealed that the Saudi war, despite Riyadh’s overwhelming military superiority, had failed since it was “no closer” to achieving its declared objective.
The United States and Britain have been providing the bulk of the ordnance used by Saudi Arabia in the war. London has licensed 3.3 billion pounds' worth of weapons since the beginning of the war.
The White House also sealed a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Riyadh when US President Donald Trump made his maiden visit abroad in May. The deal, which is worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion that will take effect immediately, was hailed by the White House as a significant expansion of the security relationship between the two countries.