[The aftermath of the airstrike in the south of the capital Sana’a Saturday. Photograph: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images]
Jeddah: The Saudi-lead coalition to support the legitimate government in Yemen has denied conducting an airstrike on a funeral in the capital Sanaa, which Houthi militias claimed was carried out by the coalition killing civilians.
The coalition reiterated it takes all measures to ensure that strikes are precisely conducted in order to avoid civilian gatherings, coalition spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmed Asiri told Arab News on Saturday.
Asiri’s statement was made on the backdrop of news reported by the international media claiming that a coalition air strike has hit a funeral hall in Sanaa, killing and injuring civilians.
According to a senior UN official, more than 140 people were killed and more than 525 wounded when airstrikes hit a funeral ceremony in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. The dead and wounded include senior military and security officials from the ranks of the Shia Houthi rebels fighting the internationally recognised government of president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi as well as their allies.
Houthi rebels blamed the attack on the Saudi-led coalition, the allegation strongly refuted by the coalition.
“The Coalition is aware of such reports and is certain that it is possible that other causes of bombing is to be considered. The Coalition has in the past avoided such gatherings and [they have] never been a subject of targets,” Asiri explained.
The UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said aid workers were "shocked and outraged" by the attacks that hit a community hall in the capital Sanaa where mourners had gathered.
The UN aid official called for an investigation and called upon the international community to ensure civilians are protected.
Meanwhile, Yemenis continued rallying in Sanna for the biggest demonstration against Houthi militias todate. On twitter a hashtag has been created calling on al Yemeni to take part in the protest against the Houthis whom they have described as religious fanatics who have brought destruction to the country.
In the meantime, Houthis continue to stage their assault against civilians inside and outside Yemen and on the Southern Saudi borders.
Last night the a ballistic missile launched from inside the Yemeni territories adjacent to the Saudi borders and landed in an uninhabited area, the Saudi authorities have said.
Yemen's army has announced the death of its most senior commander to be killed this year in the country's ongoing civil war.
In a statement late on Friday, it said Maj-Gen. Abdul-Rab al-Shadadi was killed while leading an offensive against the Iranian-backed Shiite rebels known as the Houthis east of the capital Sanaa. Three militia commanders fighting alongside the army of the internationally-recognized government were also killed.
It says all four were killed when a missile fired by the Houthis struck their position on Friday.