Yemeni medics say 130 bodies pulled after deadly airstrike

AP , Saturday 7 Sep 2019

Yemeni medics said Saturday they have pulled at least 130 bodies from the rubble of a rebel-run detention center that was hit earlier this month by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in the country's southwest.

The Saudi-led coalition said it had bombed a "legitimate military target,'' and blamed the Houthis for using the former college as a detention center for forcibly disappeared Yemenis.

The complex of buildings was part of the local community college before Iran-backed Houthi rebels turned it into a detention center, one of dozens in areas under their control.

Houthi and medical officials have said the detention center was holding at least 170 people when it was hit. The detainees were captured forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government as well as civilians who had been arrested for criticizing the Houthis in recent years.

Bashir al-Dawrani, a spokesman for the Yemeni Red Crescent, told The Associated Press that the death toll has yet to be confirmed as search efforts are ongoing for more bodies at the site in the Dhamar province.

Families have begun to take the bodies from a hospital in Dhamar, al-Dawrani said.

The International Committee for the Red Cross, which inspects detention centers as part of its global mission, said earlier this week that 40 wounded were being treated for injuries while the rest were presumed dead, and that it would likely take days to recover all the bodies.

Yemen's civil war started in 2014 when the Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country's north. The Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states intervened in March 2015 to try and restore the internationally recognized government of President Mansour Abed Rabbo Hadi to power.

The fighting has killed more than 94,000 people including over 16,000 in 2019, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED, which tracks the war.

*This story had been edited by Ahram Online 


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