Yemeni Children Killed in Saudi-UAE Air Attack

Two Yemeni children were killed in a Saudi-UAE air attack that took place last week in the Northern Province of Yemen, Saada. The air strike hit a displaced Yemeni family’s home and killed two young siblings – a three-month old baby girl named Somood and her three-year old brother Nabil, according to CNN. The family had fled into Haidan district of Saada after their home was previously destroyed in Wadi Layya village in Al-Daher district on the border with Saudi Arabia. After the attack, neighbors rushed to the site to rescue the children from under the rubble, however, the two siblings had passed away.

According to CNN, the Saudi-led coalition fighting a war against Houthi rebels in Yemen said it will investigate the air strike that killed two children last week after CNN provided evidence of the incident. Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki told CNN in a statement that it will refer the bombing in the northern province of Saada on September 13 to the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) due to the “probability of collateral damage and civilian casualties during the targeting of a gathering of Houthi militias.” CNN’s report also revealed that fragments of US-manufactured weapons had been found at the sites of a string of other attacks since the start of the war, though it was unclear who manufactured the bombs used in the September 13 strike.

In addition, last month, a separate CNN investigation found remnants of a US-made bomb at the scene of an August airstrike in Saada that left dozens of schoolboys dead. Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, told CNN that “the final decisions on the conduct of operations in the campaign are made by the members of the Saudi-led coalition, not the United States.” Thus deterring claims that the US shares responsibility for the Saudi-UAE attacks.

The Yemen Data Project listed 108 air raids on the Saada province, a region straddling the Saudi border that has been ravaged by violence since the start of the conflict. According to Al-Jazeera, since 2015, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been carrying out air raids on Yemen, in an attempt to reinstate the internationally recognized government of President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In late 2014, Houthi rebels overthrew Hadi’s government and captured large parts of the North. Since then, there has been an abundance of Saudi-UAE-led air attacks on the Northern regions in Yemen. According to Al-Jazeera, with logistical support from the US, the Saudi-UAE alliance has carried out more than 16,000 raids on Houthi-held areas in an attempt to reverse their gains. These attacks have targeted weddings, hospitals, as well as water and electricity plants, killing and wounding thousands.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been pushing the warring parties to restart peace talks and he arrived in Sanaa on Sunday to meet with the Houthis as fighting resumed in the port city. According to Al-Jazeera, on Saturday, the Houthis signed a memorandum of understanding with the UN to take critically ill patients abroad for treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that 12 health conditions had been identified, including patients with cancer, chronic diseases and congenital anomalies.

The three-year war tore Yemen apart and left much of its population, dead, injured, ill, and famished. According to the UN, an estimated 8.4 million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen. With the support of US-manufactured weapons, the Saudi-UAE military alliance has been able to inflict more harm on the Yemeni population and have been the cause for numerous deaths of civilians in non-military sites. The on-going humanitarian crisis in Yemen has already left more than 22 million in critical need. The crisis will persist unless the Saudi-UAE air attacks are forced to stop and peace talks presume. It is critical that the US stops supporting the Saudi-UAE air attacks and takes a stance against the killings of innocent Yemeni lives. Without a direct response from the US to its Saudi allies, the killings will continue and more children lives will be lost.