At Least 20 Killed After Two Missiles Fired at Yemeni Mosque
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 19, 2017,
Mar 19, 2017, 0:09
Coast guard Mohamed al-Alay says the refugees, carrying official UNHCR documents, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab al-Mandeb strait.
A sailor who had been operating the boat, Ibrahim Ali Zeyad, said 80 refugees were rescued after the incident.
It is not clear yet who is behind the attack.
Abdulmalik Jarrallah, head of the Health Ministry office in Hodeida, said fishing boats carried dead and injured refugees to the port early Friday.
Eric Christopher Wyss, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, described the scene at the port as "gruesome and heartbreaking".
Various pro-Houthi media outlets have reported the helicopter was bombing various rebel positions on the Yemeni coast at the time of the attack, but there has been no comment or confirmation from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia, which leads an Arab air campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, owns USA -made Apache helicopters.
All of those on the boat had official documentation from the UN Refugee Agency certifying that they were refugees.
Yemen's Shiite rebels also have blamed the Saudi-led coalition. "These are people who have already suffered so much and risked their lives to flee Somalia", he said.
The Coalition statement said that on Friday afternoon, a missile launched from inside Yemeni territories was intercepted and destroyed by the Saudi forces.
Since March 2015, violent conflict between two factions claiming to constitute the Yemeni government has created a vast crisis in Yemen and millions of people face threats to their safety and basic human rights.
The coastal province has been under heavy airstrikes over the past two years since the coalition joined the conflict in support of the government. A number of the wounded taken to hospital were missing arms and legs.
The UN Human Rights Commission condemned the attack, describing it as the latest in a string of air strikes against civilians.