Human RightsMiddle EastSaudi ArabiaYemen

Rabid Saudi-led coalition continues attacks on Yemen despite epidemic

The Saudi-led coalition continues to launch airstrikes on various areas across Yemen at a time when the war-ravaged county is grappling with the new coronavirus outbreak.

Yemeni sources said Saudi warplanes shelled towns and districts in Yemen’s north, northwest, center, and west on Wednesday.

The towns of al-Khob and al-Sha’ab in northern al-Jawf Province, the Shada’a district of northwestern Sa’ada Province, and Qanieh region in the central province of al-Bayda were all hit.

The sources said several districts in Yemen’s western, coastal province of Hudaydah also came under Saudi-led coalition attacks.

The coalition claimed on April 8 that it was halting military strikes in support of the United Nations (UN)’s peace efforts and to avoid the further spread of the new coronavirus in Yemen. However, shortly after the announcement, the coalition’s warplanes struck positions at several Yemeni regions, and the aggression continued.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus outbreak could rip through war-torn Yemen as its population has some of the lowest levels of immunity to disease.

The coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, has spread across many Yemeni cities and governorates, with the total number of infections in the country standing at 65 and the number of fatalities at 10. Many more cases are suspected to be undetected.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to subdue a popular uprising against its former regime, which had been allied to Riyadh.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, the US, and other Western countries.

At least 80 percent of the 28-million-strong population is also reliant on aid to survive in what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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