07:27 GMT17 February 2020
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    Activists have called for an independent investigation to be carried out into the alleged Saudi bombing of a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Yemen, with critics accusing the UK of being complicit in potential war crimes due to the sale of British-made weapons to Saudi Arabia.

    Officials from the medical charity have called on the Saudi-led coalition to explain the bombing after the MSF hospital in the Haydan district of the northern Yemeni region of Saada was hit by a number of airstrikes late on Monday night.

    A number of staff and patients were inside the hospital at the time of the bombing, with MSF representatives saying that they believed Riyadh was responsible for the attack, given that the Saudi-led coalition was the only partly engaging in airstrikes in the country.

    Saudi officials have not commented on the incident. However, international pressure to investigate the circumstances of the attack is building up.

    "The bombing of civilians and hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law and MSF is demanding that coalition forces explain the circumstances around the attack in Haydan," a statement released by MSF said."

    "The hospital's GPS coordinates were regularly shared with the Saudi-led coalition, and the roof of the facility was clearly identified with the MSF logo."

    The attacks comes just a few weeks after another MSF-run hospital was hit by US airstrikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, resulting in 22 fatalities.

    In this Friday, October 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
    © AP Photo / Najim Rahim
    In this Friday, October 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

    Questions of UK Complicity

    The airstrikes have increased pressure on the UK to assess its sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, following fears the latest attacks may amount to war crimes.

    Many critics have long called on the British government to halt the sale of arms to the country, given Saudi Arabia's questionable record on human rights.

    People walk at the site of a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa September 21, 2015
    © REUTERS / Khaled Abdullah
    People walk at the site of a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa September 21, 2015

    These protests were exacerbated recently, following the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, which has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths.

    "This appalling incident underlines our concern that the UK is a party to terrible war crimes in Yemen," Amnesty International UK Government and Political Relations Manager, Lucy Wake said.

    "Only last week Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood said that UK arms supplied to Saudi Arabia had 'probably' been used in Yemen, and now we have this extremely disturbing attack. There should be an independent investigation into events at Haydan Hospital and meanwhile, the UK should immediately suspend all arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other members of the coalition currently bombing Yemen that could be used in attacks like this." 

    The incident comes at a time when many are questioning the value of the UK's relationship with Saudi Arabia, after the government withdrew a bid to service Saudi prisons following widespread public pressure.

    Related:

    Saudi-Led Airstrikes Hit MSF Hospital in Yemeni Saada
    UK PM Cameron Frittered Away £100,000 for Saudi King Funeral
    UK Weapons 'Probably' Used in Yemen Amid Alleged Saudi War Crimes
    UK Prioritizes Saudi Contracts Over Human Rights Concerns
    Tags:
    civilian casualties, hospital, Saudi-led coalition, human rights abuse, double-standards, bombing, government, conflict, war crimes, war, airstrike, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Amnesty International, David Cameron, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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