Saudi Airstrike Kills 16 Relatives of North Yemen Imam

At Least Four Children Among the Slain in Saudi Strike

by Jason Ditz, August 31, 2016

A Saudi airstrike has destroyed a major house in the northern Yemen city of Saada, killing its owner, Shi’ite imam Saleh Abu Zainah, and 15 other civilians, all members of his extended family. At least four of the slain were children.

The airstrikes brought the house down on top of the family within, and while locals scrambled to try to dig any survivors out of the rubble, they reported that Saudi warplanes continued to circle overhead throughout the rescue operation, raising fears of secondary strikes.

Saudi officials have not offered any details on why the house was attacked, but have been carrying out a growing number of such airstrikes across northern Yemen in recent weeks, killing large numbers of civilians. The international community has grown increasingly critical of the Saudi air war for its high civilian death toll.

The latest attack comes amid a new push to restart the peace process in Yemen, aiming to end the 18-month Saudi war. The Shi’ite Houthis have backed the peace talks, so long as the Saudis stop attacking them, but the Saudis have insisted that there is no circumstance in which the Houthis can ever retain any power in Yemen, and have insisted on unilateral disarmament and surrender of all their territory as a condition for talks.

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