Saudi Airstrike Kills 26, Mostly Civilians, in Yemen Market

Attacks Targeted Houthi Roadblock at Port of Khokha

Adding to the ever-growing civilian death toll as Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen enters its third year, warplanes carried out an airstrike against a marketplace, killing 26 people, 20 of them identified as civilians, in the Red Sea port of Khokha.

Saudi military officials said the intention were to attack a Houthi roadblock near the market, but when warplanes started looming overhead the guards scattered, with some running into the marketplace. The decision then was to just attack the market, hoping to get some of them.

This has led to the official narrative among the Saudis that the Houthis are using civilians as “human shields,” though clearly would be a bad tactic in this war, since the Saudis have killed far more civilians than Houthis in the first place, and any gathering of Shi’ite civilians seems to invite airstrikes.

Khokha is a small part immediately south of Hodeidah, the main port through which humanitarian aid flows into northern Yemen. Hodeidah’s port infrastructure has been regularly bombed over the course of the war, limiting aid access into the Houthi parts of the country.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.