Saudi airstrike on hospital in Yemen’s Hajjah unprovoked: MSF
Doctors Without Borders says its investigation into a deadly Saudi air raid on a hospital in Yemen’s northwestern province of Hajjah has found that the attack was unjust and violated International Humanitarian Law.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the international medical charity, known by its French acronym as the MSF, denounced the attack as “unjustified and unprovoked,” calling for measures “to ensure the safety of medical personnel, patients, assets and infrastructure” in the Saudi offensive.
On August 15, at least 19 people were killed and 24 others sustained injuries after a Saudi aerial assault hit an MSF hospital in Hajjah’s Abs district.
It was the fifth and deadliest attack on an MSF-supported facility in conflict-ridden Yemen.
Elsewhere in its statement, the MSF said a Saudi plane “launched a projectile at Abs hospital without previous warning or communication with the MSF mission.”
According to the probe findings and an unidentified Saudi general, the strike targeted a “civilian vehicle” that drove into the hospital compound some five minutes before the raid, the charity added.
The attack caused a powerful blast, the MSF further said, adding, “Thirteen of the deaths were due to severe shrapnel injuries, two people burned to death inside the car, one of which was a child, and partial remains were found of the remaining four casualties.”
“Thus, carrying out the attack on the hospital without any legitimate cause and without previous warning was a violation of the International Humanitarian Law rules,” the charity concluded.
Back in June, the UN blacklisted Saudi Arabia after concluding in a report that Riyadh was responsible for 60 percent of the 785 deaths of children in Yemen last year.
A few days later, however, the world body removed Riyadh from the blacklist, citing threats by the regime and its allies to cut off funding to many UN programs. The move triggered an outcry from human rights groups.
Yemen has seen almost daily military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March 2015, with internal sources putting the toll from the bloody aggression at about 10,000. The offensive was launched to crush the Ansarullah movement and its allies and restore power to the resigned Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The Houthi fighters of Ansarullah movement took state matters in their hands after the resignation and escape of Hadi, which threw Yemen into a state of uncertainty and threatened a total security breakdown in the country, where an al-Qaeda affiliate is present.