UNICEF: At Least 62 Children Killed During Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen
The United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, said on Tuesday at least 62 children have been killed and 30 injured during the Saudi aggression against Yemen over the past week.
“Children are in desperate need of protection, and all parties to the conflict should do all in their power to keep children safe,” said UNICEF’s representative for Yemen Julien Harneis.
Fighting has escalated sharply in Yemen after a Saudi-led coalition over the weekend launched air strikes to block an advance by the popular Ansarullah movement that ascended to power at the end of a two-year-long revolution.
UNICEF said the fighting was severely damaging health and education services, and exacerbating already precarious conditions for children who are facing a food crisis and acute malnutrition.
The violence is leaving children terrified and more of them are being recruited as child soldiers, UNICEF said.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for six days now to restore power to fugitive Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi airstrikes have killed at least, 132, mostly women and children, and injured hundreds more.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US have declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued earlier Thursday.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late Wednesday night.
She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.