Monday, August 31, 2015
Saudis kill another 36 civilians inside Yemen
Saudi bombers and fighter planes have been bombing inside Yemen for last few months. As I have noted earlier, many unarmed civilians have died as a result of such air strikes conducted by Saudi pilots. The Saudi actions are viewed by many as criminal, deserving severe condemnation. The Saudi response, however, has been one of utter defiance - something that we have seen many times with the Israeli government in its orgy of violence directed against the Palestinians in Gaza.
The Saudi government either denies that civilians have died from its heavy-handed approach to weaken Houthi control inside Yemen or that the casualties of air strikes were all part of a collateral damage. Israeli government has mastered that art of deception and defiance and now Saudis are seemingly repeating those mantras as if those nonchalant utterings could sanitize their crimes. No, they don't.
Here below is the latest casualty figures from Yemen, as reported by Reuters.
An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said.
In another air raid on the capital Sanaa, residents said four civilians were killed when a bomb hit their house near a military base in the south of the city.
The attacks were the latest in an air campaign launched in March by an alliance made up mainly of Gulf Arab states in support of the exiled government in its fight against Houthi forces allied to Iran.
"The process of recovering the bodies is finished now. The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an air strike hit the plant this morning," resident Issa Ahmed told Reuters by phone from the site in Hajjah.
Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri denied the strike had hit a civilian target, saying it was a location used by the Houthis to make improvised explosive devices and to train African migrants whom they had forced to take up arms.
"We got very accurate information about this position and attacked it. It is not a bottling factory," he said.
He accused the Houthis of using African migrants, stuck in Yemen after arriving by sea before the war in the hope of crossing the Saudi border and finding work in the oil producer, as cannon fodder in dangerous border operations.
Human rights group Amnesty International said in a report this month that the coalition bombing campaign had left a "bloody trail of civilian death" which could amount to war crimes.