U.S. condemns deadly coalition bombing of Yemen hospital; Saudis deny targeting

SANAA, Yemen, Aug. 15 (UPI) — More than a dozen people were killed at a Yemeni hospital Monday after it was bombed by Saudi-led coalition forces, authorities said — amid accusations that the Saudi government is intentionally targeting medical facilities and schools there.

Amed forces launched the airstrike on the Abs Hospital in Yemen’s Hajjah Province, officials said, killing at least 15 people and wounding 20 others. The hospital is affiliated with the humanitarian Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders.

Monday’s strike came just one day after the Saudi coalition denied accusations that they are purposefully targeting hospitals and schools in Yemen.

The U.S.-affiliated coalition forces said recent attacks, on Saturday, that leveled two schools in north Yemen was aimed at a militia training camp in the area — and killed a Houthi rebel leader. Officials said at least 14 children were also killed.

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A coalition spokesman told CNN that schools and hospitals are often hit by airstrikes because militants use them as a form of human shield to protect their operations from large-scale military strikes.

“[It] confirms the Houthis practice of recruit and subjecting children to terror,” the spokesman said.

Monday’s strike is the latest to hit an MSF-affiliated medical facility. Other clinics and hospitals in the Middle East with MSF personnel have been similarly bombed in recent months. At least four strikes have hit Yemeni hospitals in the last 17 months as rebels and government forces fight for control.

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“People in Yemen continue to be killed or injured while seeking medical care,” the humanitarian group tweeted Monday. “This. Is. Unacceptable.”

“Today’s airstrike appears to be the latest in a string of unlawful attacks targeting hospitals, highlighting an alarming pattern of disregard for civilian life,” Amnesty International official Magdalena Mughrabi said Monday.

The attack Monday even drew a rare criticism from the U.S. Department of State, which supports the Saudi-led military coalition in its efforts to defeat the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“We call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said Monday. “We would note that the Saudi committee that was designated to look into civilian casualties … did share its findings with the UN. We believe that’s a step forward in transparency, and as we’ve previously underscored we also call on them to publicly release those reports.”

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