Iran condemns Saudi bombardment of civilians in Yemen

An air strike by a Saudi-led military coalition killed 26 people at a hotel and an adjoining market in Yemen's northern Saadah province on Wednesday, according to medics and a Reuters witness at the scene.

The attack, which struck the Sahar district of the vast territory that borders Saudi Arabia, demolished the budget hotel and reduced market stalls outside to a heap of twisted sheet metal.

The Saudi coalition did not yet comment on whether the air strike has been carried out by them, but they enforce an air blockade on Houthi-held areas and they are the only force whose warplanes are known to operate in Yemen's north along the Saudi border. Saada province is the main stronghold of Houthi rebels and it lies on the border with Saudi Arabia.

The coalition, which has faced repeated worldwide criticism over civilian casualties, said it was investigating the reports without claiming responsibility for the attack in Saada governorate.

According to a Houthi-run news agency, Sabaa, all the victims were civilians.

Early last month, the United Nations listed the Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni pro-government forces, the Houthis and al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula on a list of parties that kill and maim children in armed conflict.

The strike is the latest among a series of airstrikes on the war-torn Arab country since the coalition launched a large-scale air campaign against the rebels in Yemen more than two and a half years ago.

The country has also been hit by a deadly cholera epidemic and is on the brink of mass starvation.

  • Jon Douglas