18:14 GMT27 January 2021
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    Mark Lowcock, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator for the United Nations, condemned recent Saudi-led airstrikes on Friday that have killed dozens of Yemeni civilians, many of whom were children.

    The 56-year-old UN official indicated that at least 22 children and four women were killed on Thursday as they tried to escape the ongoing fighting between Saudi-tied militants and Houthi rebels in the Hudaydah governorate's al-Durayhimi district.

    The Thursday incident is the second airstrike to take place in which dozens of civilians were killed. On August 9, Saudi strikes targeted a school bus traveling through northern Yemen, killing 51 people, including 40 children.

    Echoing the previous statements of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Lowcock called for "an impartial, independent and prompt investigation into these most recent incidents."

    ​Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Friday that "children are being attacked, and children are dying from airstrikes."

    "Children are being brutalized, killed, and they've committed no crime," Kelly told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "And still the Saudis have spoken about the attack on the school bus on August 9 as being a legitimate military operation."

    According to CNN, the bomb used in that early August incident was identified as a "500-pound, laser-guided MK-82 bomb." The weapon was made by Lockheed Martin, an American company based out of Bethesda, Maryland.

    "The United States public is largely unaware that the United States is at war against Yemen… that the Saudis are using bombs manufactured in the United States and sold to them by companies profiting from this war and that the United States is fueling the warplanes that the Saudis and Emiratis and the coalition use to launch these attacks," Kelly said, before noting that the US was also conducting surveillance in the region.

    "What kind of surveillance would target school buses filled with children?" she questioned.

    The Yemeni conflict, which saw its start in 2014 after Houthi Shiite rebels ousted the country's Hadi government, intensified the following year after the Saudi-led coalition intervened. In the four years since, Yemeni civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict.

    Lowcock's remarks follow a 90-page report released by Human Rights Watch on Friday, which accuses the Saudi-led coalition of failing to conduct credible investigation into alleged war crimes in Yemen. The report also urges the kingdom to redress the toll the war has taken on civilians.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Yemen crisis, Yemen conflict, Yemen airstrike, Airstrikes, Lockheed Martin, US, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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