Saudi warplanes are adding to the ever-growing number of incidents of attacks on civilians fueling international disquiet this weekend, attacking a village in the northern Saada Province and killing 19 civilians, most of them children.
The majority of the casualties in the village came in the attack on a school, which killed 10 children and wounded 21 others, according to Doctors Without Borders. The other attacks hit houses in the surrounding area, including the home of the school’s principal, a strike which killed his wife and four children.
Saudi officials confirmed the attack, but insisted that the school was secretly an Iranian-backed training camp for child soldiers. They insisted there are no schools of any type anywhere in the district, and that the Doctors Without Borders confirmation that they killed mostly small children “confirms the Houthis practice of recruiting and subjecting children to terror.”
While the Saudi claims about the school are preposterous and readily disproven, the Saudi comments defending their attack amount to an admission that they deliberately targeted a site full of children which they themselves believed to be full of children. This would doubtless get added to the annual UN report of war crimes against children from 2016, assuming the Saudis don’t manage to weasel their way out like they did this year.