'87 civilians dead' in Yemen attacks

Attacks by warplanes reportedly killed as many as 87 displaced civilians in northern Yemen yesterday. Details are sketchy but the Associated Press report cites several witnesses to the large number of casualties.

Human Rights Watch, which has called for an investigation, said in a statement:

The attacks were in ‘Adi, east of the town of Harf Sufyan, in ‘Amran governorate. In mid-August, a sixth round of heavy fighting erupted in northern Yemen between government forces and Houthi rebels, and it has continued since then.

A witness to the attack reached via a Yemeni human rights organisation, the Dialogue Foundation, said that Yemeni military planes conducted four raids this morning [Wednesday] and, without warning, bombed a group of displaced persons sheltering in an open area near a school.

There were no armed clashes or rebels in the area at the time, the witness said, but the area was close to a road sometimes used by Houthi rebels ... Some of the displaced persons carried automatic rifles, as is the custom for tribal men in that area of Yemen, the witness said.

Yemen News, an independent news website, earlier reported that 85 people had been killed in the repeated air raids ...

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 17 September 2009.