Arab Coalition Says Houthi Military Position in Dhamar was Legitimate Target

Arab Coalition Says Houthi Military Position in Dhamar was Legitimate Target

The Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement, which is fighting in opposition to the government and Saudi-led coalition, said the strikes had hit a facility it was using as a prison.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Yemen's Huthi rebels said Monday it was unaware that prisoners were held at a facility it targeted with deadly air strikes.

Yemeni officials say airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit a detention center in the southwestern Dhamar province, killing at least 52 people. The International Committee for the Red Cross said 40 wounded were being treated for injuries while the rest were presumed dead.

The UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said Sunday's deaths were a "tragedy".

The attack was the deadliest so far this year by the coalition, which has faced worldwide criticism for airstrikes that have killed civilians and hit non-military targets. The U.N. provides the coalition with coordinates for locations such as hospitals, schools, and official prisons to ensure they are not hit by airstrikes.

Local residents, however, said it was a detention centre in the city that was hit.


The statement came hours after an ICRC delegation travelled from the capital Sanaa to the scene in Dhamar to help remove bodies from the rubble and assist treating the injured.

The coalition denied it had struck a detention center, saying that it had targeted a military site used by the rebels to restore drones and missiles.

Rescue workers recover bodies from under the rubble.

The Houthi-run Health Ministry said numerous wounded, over 60, and dead were captured government fighters.

"The conflict in Yemen is claiming too many civilian victims and others not taking part in hostilities", Carboni said following Sunday's bombing.

According to ICRC, there were around 170 people in the detention facility when it was attacked by the Saudi-led coalition.


The United Arab Emirates, a key member of the coalition backing the Yemeni government, has also trained and supported secessionists who seek an independent southern Yemen.

Dhamar is located about 100 kilometres south of capital Sana'a.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief the media. The Saudi-led alliance has responded with strikes on Houthi targets.

"Yemen has been at the center of my attention", she said in a statement.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti confirmed that those being detained at the Dhamar jail were awaiting a release because of a prisoner swap deal, agreed to by the Houthis and the Yemeni government of President Hadi.


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