A Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed dozens of children Thursday when the bombs hit a school bus in northern Yemen, officials said.
The Houthi rebel-run health ministry said at least 43 people were killed and 63 injured, according to CNN. Most were younger than 10 years old, said Johannes Bruwer, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen. His organization tweeted an ICRC-backed hospital “received dozens of dead and wounded.”
The coalition called the strike a legitimate military action in retaliation to a Houthi ballistic missile attack that targeted Jizan province late Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s official news agency reported.
The coalition, which has U.S. logistic support, has carried out strikes in Yemen to reinstate the internationally-recognized presidency of Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who rebels drove into exile three years ago.
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At least 10,000 people have died in the conflict, United Nations statistics show. In June alone, the coalition carried out 258 air raids on Yemen, nearly a third of which targeted non-military sites.
Yemen, also reeling from a multi-year cholera epidemic that’s killed more than 2,300, has the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world, humanitarian agency Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere said.
“Since , 22.2 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, among which 11.3 million are in acute need of immediate assistance to save or sustain life, mostly women and children,” the group said.
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The special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General for Yemen Martin Griffiths is pushing for peace talks and plans to invite combatants to a first round of negotiation in Switzerland next month.