Saudi Arabia investigating strike on aid group in Yemen

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2015 6:54 AM
Saudi Arabia investigating strike on aid group in Yemen

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia began an investigation Friday after an aid group said the kingdom's coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen struck one of its clinics, the second such strike in recent months.

Doctors Without Borders said Saudi-led airstrikes Wednesday hit its clinic in the city of Taiz in southern Yemen, wounding nine people. The group said the strikes came despite urgent calls to the military coalition fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies around Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city.

In a statement Friday carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the coalition said it began the investigation to "verify whether the news is true." It said it would "publish the findings with the utmost transparency and frankness."

However, the statement also said aid groups needed to have "beforehand coordination" with the military and "remain away from the places where the Houthi militias are present." Doctors Without Borders says it provided the clinic's coordinates several times to the military campaign, but it still was struck.

This is the second time Doctors Without Borders has apparently been hit in a Saudi-led strike. An Oct. 26 airstrike destroyed a small hospital the group ran in Yemen's northern province of Saada. Both strikes brought condemnation from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others, though it hasn't slowed the pace of strikes.

Yemen's conflict pits the Houthis and army units loyal to a former president against the internationally recognized government and the Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition.

The war has killed at least 5,700 people since March 26, including 830 women and children, the U.N. said last month. The war has also pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine.

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