Saudi Coalition Attacks Yemen Youth Soccer Game: Civilians Killed

Saudis declares strikes against 'legitimate military targets'

Saudi Arabia’s state media reported “precise airstrikes against legitimate military targets” in Yemen today. This included an attack on a youth soccer field in al-Hodeidah, while a game was going on.

Details are still emerging as to the aftermath, though there were reportedly a number of casualties, including three deaths. Photos showed several children among the casualties.

Despite the Saudis’ constant talk of legitimate military targets, and Hodeidah being militarized, this was just a soccer game with no official dimension at all, and there is no sign anyone was there except for a number of civilians.

Strikes against plainly civilian targets have been common enough throughout the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Though there is occasionally excuse-making that follows these incidents, the go-to tactic for the Saudi government is just to not report on these, and act furious if there is any talk of them being war crimes.

Hodeidah is the main aid port for Yemen, and the source for food and medicine for all of northern Yemen. The Saudis have presented the port as a military target, citing the seizure of a UAE-flagged ship, which the Saudis said held medical aid from a field hospital, but which Houthi photos showed was full of arms and armored vehicles.

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.