Scores Dead After Saudi-Led, US-Backed Coalition Bombs Yemen Funeral

‘The silence of the United Nations and the international community is the munition of the murderers’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-8-2016

Photo: Twitter

Photo: Twitter

The Saudi-led coalition, whose planes the U.S. continues to refuel, reportedly killed at least 90 people in Yemen on Saturday when airstrikes targeted a funeral hall in the capital of Sanaa.

Some put the death toll as high as 155.

According to Reuters:

Residents said aircraft fired two missiles at the hall, where hundreds of mourners had gathered to offer condolences.

One missile tore through the building, setting it on fire and sending a large plume of smoke above the area. The other landed nearby.

Witnesses described a scene of carnage, with charred or mutilated bodies strewn around.

Hundreds more were reportedly wounded. The International Red Cross said it had prepared 300 body bags.

The Associated Press quoted one rescuer as saying the site was turned into a “lake of blood.”

The funeral was for Sheikh Ali al-Rawishan, father of Galal al-Rawishan, the interior minister in the rebel-led government. BBC reported that a number of Houthi rebel military and security officials are believed to have been killed in the strike.

A Saudi spokesman said the coalition was not responsible for the attacks.

Associated Press reports:

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the Houthis’ spokesman in Sanaa, angrily denounced the airstrike as the latest act of “genocide” by the Saudi-led coalition.

“The silence of the United Nations and the international community is the munition of the murderers,” he said. “Those murderers will not escape divine justice.”

Thousands of civilians have been killed since the Saudi-led campaign began in March. Just last month, the U.S. Senate rejected an attempt to block a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, leading one human rights expert to decry the U.S. as “indifferent to Yemen’s misery.”

Indeed, Human Rights Watch researcher Priyanka Motaparthy wrote just this week: “Despite rising outrage over the bloody civilian toll in Yemen’s war, the United States administration is showing no signs of breaking with—or attempting to check—the actions of its ally Saudi Arabia.”

The U.K., too, is reportedly in talks over a multi-billion-pound arms contract with Saudi Arabia.

“The US has never launched a single investigation into civilian casualties in a campaign it is part of,” journalist Samuel Oakford, who has written on U.S. complicity in Yemen, noted on Twitter. “Will it now?”

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