An attack on a bus carrying children in rebel-held northern Yemen on Thursday left dozens of civilians mostly children under 10 attending Holy Quran classes dead or wounded, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
According to multiple sources, the attack took place early on Thursday outside a busy market in Dahyan city in the Houthi controlled province of Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia.
Al Masirah, a pro-Houthi rebel TV network, said the bus was carrying a group of students attending summer classes learning the Holy Quran, was targeted. It reported that 39 people had been killed and 51 wounded, “mostly children”.
The network posted several videos on Twitter showing the aftermath of attack, including one with several dead children, and another of blood pouring from the heads of three child survivors.
The Huthi rebels’ Al-Masirah TV reported that 39 people had been killed and 51 wounded, “mostly children”.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF said it was “very concerned with the reports of children being killed”.
“I am watching with horror the images and videos coming from Saada in #Yemen and I have no words. How was this a military target? Why are children being killed?” tweeted UNICEF’s resident representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano.
It accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Shiite rebels on the side of the government of hitting the bus in an air strike.
It was not possible to verify the toll or who was behind it.
There was no immediate comment from the coalition, which intervened in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government to power after it was driven out of the capital Sanaa by the rebels.
Last Thursday, attacks on a hospital and a fish market in the strategic rebel-held port city of Hodeida killed at least 55 civilians and wounded 170, according to the ICRC.
The coalition denied responsibility for those attacks.
Yemen’s war has left nearly 10,000 people dead since 2015 and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.