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Deadly attack on Yemen market 3rd in just over month, UN says

An Ethiopian migrant woman, injured in a Saudi shelling on a market, lies on a bed at a hospital in Sa’ada, northwestern Yemen, on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

The United Nations has strongly condemned the recent attack against a popular market in Yemen’s mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada, describing it as the third deadly assault on the same location in just over a month.

The world body said in a statement that the attack on al-Raqou market in the Monabbih district of the province on Tuesday claimed the lives of seventeen civilians, and that there were 12 Ethiopian migrants were among the fallen victims.

At least 12 people were wounded, the UN added, without saying who was responsible for the incident or what weaponry was used.

“The attacks on al-Raqou market raise deeply troubling questions about the commitment of the parties to the conflict to uphold international humanitarian law,” Lise Grande, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, said.

“Every attack of this kind is a gross violation,” she added.

Back on November 22, a Saudi-led attack on al-Raqou market killed 10 civilians, again including Ethiopian nationals.

At least another 10 civilians were killed and 22 wounded in a second such incident just days later, according to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against Yemen announced on Thursday it would investigate the assault.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki, in a statement carried by Saudi state-run news agency SPA, said an initial review of the operation in Sa’ada indicated possible “incidental losses and collateral damage.”

Arabic-language al-Masirah television network said Tuesday's incident was a result of artillery shelling from across the Saudi border.

Also on Thursday evening, the Saudi-led alliance launched five missiles into areas north of the Hays district in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah, but there no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.

The coalition also pounded a number of villages on the outskirts of the besieged al-Durayhimi city in the same Yemeni province, though no reports of casualties were quickly available.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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