Saudi warplanes were called in to strike the al-Atera village in southern Yemen today, a village which is contested between the Saudi-backed government and the Shi’ite Houthi movement. As has so often happened during their war, the strike was a disaster.
At least 20 civilians, identified as internally displaced persons, including women and children, were killed and an undisclosed number of others were wounded in the airstrikes, which fueled new international condemnation for Saudi targeting policies.
The details are still emerging about why the refugees were hit, but the UN High Commission for Refugees’ office says that indications are that most of the victims of the attack were from the same extended family. Killing civilians has been a recurring problem for the Saudis in the Yemen War, despite pledges to improve targeting and seek increased help from the US and UK on reducing the casualties.
Yet once again, with fighting going on somewhere in or around the village, the warplanes instead hit a bunch of apparently random bystanders, adding to growing doubts that the Saudis are honest in their attempts to improve, and putting more pressure on the US and British governments to pare back the arms sales fueling the conflict.
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