Yemen: Mass casualties as jets strike funeral hall and rescuers in Sanaa

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Funeral hall targeted by jets in Sanaa (Image via Abrama999)

At least 90 people have died and 566 injured when jets from the Saudi -led coalition airstrike allegedly targeted a funeral hall in Sanaa the capital of Yemen. Casualty figures were initially released by Saba news agency affiliated with the Iran-allied Houthi group quoting health minister, Ghazi Ismael of the Houthi-Saleh government. However sources on the ground feared death figures could be far higher.

Yemen Post gave a later update tweeting,

Day of MASSACRES: 405 civilians killed & 320 injured in today by Saudi airstrikes & missiles attacking capital now.

This could not be independently verified.

Hakim al-Masmari editor of the Yemen Post, told Al Jazeera the hall was hit by four strikes. He stated,

“Initially two, then after the plane circled around, a further two. The planes were heard and seen in the skies by multiple people.

“Senior intelligence and military officials were present, and Sanaa’s mayor Abdul-Qader Hilal was confirmed killed.”

Many civilians were believed to be among the mourners.

Yemen is currently in a state of conflict with fighting between forces loyal to President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and those allied to Zaidi Shia rebels known as Houthis, who forced Mr Hadi out of the capital in February 2015.” Nearly three million people have been displaced since the war began in 2014 and are suffering increased poverty and starvation.

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Crowds were gathered to pay their respects to the father of the rebel interior minister Jalal al-Rowaishan when the jets struck.

Haykal Bafana, a Yemen lawyer tweeted,

Breaking in | Massacre by jets : 2 missiles on funeral in Al Qa’a Al Kubra hall, largest in Sanaa. 2nd missile : incendiary.

Al Qa’a Al Kubra is large enough to host 3,000 at least. Today was the condolence reception for the late Sheikh Ali Al Rowaishan.

The incident was thought to be a “double tap” strike, the first hitting the target and following strikes aimed at first responders attempting to help those at the scene.

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YT posted a before and after photo of the hall showing the devastation

According to Reuters news agency, sources in the Saudi-led coalition denied any Arab coalition air role in the strike stating there was “absolutely no such operation took place at that target.” A source continued, “the coalition is aware of such reports and is certain that it is possible that other causes of bombing are to be considered. The coalition has in the past avoided such gatherings and (they have) never been a subject of targets.”

Despite the double tap strike on the funeral hall, volunteers continued to come forward to rescue survivors. They were met with a scene of carnage, burnt and mutilated bodies strewn within the wreckage of the building and on the outside.

Graphic images were posted on Twitter by Abrahama999 …

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GRAPHIC… video from the site of the attack showing a scene of carnage

Britain supplying arms to Saudi

Britain has come under heavy criticism for selling arms to Saudi Arabia over concerns regarding alleged human rights violations and high civilian casualties. On Sept 15th, the Guardian reported, “all sales of UK weapons to Saudi Arabia should be suspended until an independent inquiry into alleged breaches of international law in Yemen has been completed, two select committees have agreed in a joint report.” The publication stated, “Britain has sold more than £3.7bn of arms to Saudi Arabia since the airstrikes began.”

See following link,

“Shelve UK arms sales to Saudis over Yemen, say two MPs’ committees”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/15/crispin-blunt-report-foreign-affairs-committee-says-arms-sales-to-saudis-yemen-judged-high-court

However this did not stop BAE Systems from trying to secure a multi-billion pound arms contract with Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

See story from the Independent,

“BAE in arms talks with Saudi Arabia despite kingdom’s alleged war crimes in Yemen”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/bae-systems-saudi-arabia-arms-deal-yemen-war-crimes-a7348156.html

Ahmad Algobary tweeted the following photo,

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My friend Sadeq got married month ago. air strikes killed him in the funeral hall massacre in  

UN statement on Saudi bombing of Yemen funeral

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Full statement from White House announcing “immediate review” of US support package for Saudi coalition in Yemen after funeral strike via Samuel Oakford, journalist

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As bodies were being uncovered in the rubble, Hisham al- Omeisy, Political & Information Analyst based in Yemen stated,

“Guess Saudi waited a few hours to see if world would react to massacre committed, seeing none, resuming airstrikes in Sana’a now while many collecting pieces of loved ones killed in airstrikes earlier. Deafening global silence. Huge blast from airstrike just ripped thru Sana’a. Saudi fighter jets criss crossing sky. Haven’t they killed enough people today!!?”

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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