Deadly coalition air strikes hit Yemen hospital

Sanaa: An Arab coalition air raid hit a Yemeni hospital, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 19, just 48 hours after strikes that killed children, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.

In a statement issued in Paris, MSF said a blast yesterday “partially destroyed” the hospital at Abs, located in the rebel-held province of Hajja.

The explosion immediately killed nine people, including an MSF staff member, while two more patients died while being transferred to another clinic, it said.

MSF expressed outrage at what it described as the fourth attack on one of its facilities in less than a year.

“Once again, a fully functional hospital full of patients and MSF national and international staff members, was bombed in a war that has shown no respect for medical facilities or patients,” Teresa Sancristoval, for MSF’s Emergency Unit in Yemen, said in the statement .

The GPS coordinates of the hospital “were repeatedly shared with all parties to the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition, and its location was well-known,” MSF added.

The coalition has been battling Iran-backed rebels since March 2015 in support of Yemen’s government, after the insurgents seized Sanaa before moving into other parts of the country.

Earlier this month, the coalition acknowledged “shortcomings” in two out of eight cases it has investigated of UN-condemned air strikes on civilian targets in Yemen.

Yesterday, it promised to probe another attack that MSF said killed 10 children over the weekend at a school in the rebel-held northern province of Saada.

Sancristoval lamented that nothing “seems to be done to make parties involved in the conflict in Yemen respect medical staff and patients.

“Without action, these public gestures are meaningless for today’s victims. Either intentional or a result of a negligence, this is unacceptable”.

Residents in Abs said coalition jets, which have been striking rebel military targets in the town for several days, hit the hospital and caused casualties.

Rebel sources said the coalition struck a first-aid building beside the facility.

Abs is adjacent to the town of Harad, on the border with Saudi Arabia, and from where rebels have repeatedly shelled areas on the kingdom’s side of the frontier, causing both civilian and military deaths.

A border guards corporal became the latest Saudi casualty yesterday, the interior ministry said in Riyadh.

Harad itself is seeing fierce fighting and is frequently a target of heavy coalition air strikes.