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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Red Cross: Yemen prison airstrike killed, injured over 100

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Saudi-led airstrike targeting a prison run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels killed and wounded over 100 detainees on Friday, rescuers said, part of a pounding aerial offensive that hours earlier saw another airstrike take the Arab world’s poorest country off the internet.

A strike in the port city of Hodeida, later confirmed by satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press, hit a telecommunication center there that’s key to Yemen’s connection to the internet. Airstrikes also hit near Sanaa, Yemen’s capital held by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since late 2014.

The intense campaign comes after the Houthis claimed a drone and missile attack that struck inside the capital of the United Arab Emirates earlier in the week.

Basheer Omar, an International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson in Yemen, gave the casualty figure to the AP. He said the rescuers continued to go through the prison site in the northern city of Saada, also controlled by the Houthis.

“The toll is likely to increase, unfortunately,” Omar said. The Red Cross had moved some of the wounded to facilities elsewhere, he said. There was no breakdown for how many were killed and how many were wounded.

Doctors Without Borders in a separate statement put the number of wounded alone at “around 200” people.

“From what I hear from my colleague in Saada, there are many bodies still at the scene of the airstrike, many missing people,” said Ahmed Mahat, the organization’s head of mission in Yemen. “It is impossible to know how many people have been killed. It seems to have been a horrific act of violence.”

The organization Save the Children said over 60 were killed in Saada, describing the prison holding detained migrants.

“The initial casualties report from Saada is horrifying,” said Gillian Moyes, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen. “Migrants seeking better lives for themselves and their families, Yemeni civilians injured by the dozens, is a picture we never hoped to wake up to in Yemen.”

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the strike in Saada.

As for the airstrike in Hodeida that apparently took Yemen entirely offline, NetBlocks said the internet disruption began around 1 am local and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that controls internet access in the country. TeleYemen is now run by the Houthis who have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since late 2014.

Yemen faces “a nation-scale collapse of internet connectivity” after an airstrike on a telecommunications building, NetBlocks said.

The San Diego-based Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis and San Francisco-based internet firm CloudFlare also noted a nationwide outage affecting Yemen beginning around the same time.

Over 12 hours later, the internet remained down. The Norwegian Refugee Council decried the strike as “a blatant attack on civilian infrastructure that will also impact our aid delivery.”

The Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel said the strike on the telecommunications building had killed and wounded people. It released chaotic footage of people digging through rubble for a body as gunshots could be heard. Aid workers assisted bloodied survivors.

Save the Children said the airstrike in Hodeida killed at least three children playing on a soccer field.

Satellite photos analyzed by the AP corresponded to photos shared on social media of the telecommunications building being flattened by the airstrike.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels acknowledged carrying out “accurate airstrikes to destroy the capabilities of the militia” around Hodeida’s port. It did not immediately acknowledge striking a telecommunication target as NetBlocks described, but instead called Hodeida a hub for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to back the Houthis. Iran has denied arming the Houthis, though UN experts, independent analysts and Western nations point to evidence showing Tehran’s link to the weapons.

The undersea FALCON cable carries internet into Yemen through the Hodeida port along the Red Sea for TeleYemen. The FALCON cable has another landing in Yemen’s far eastern port of Ghaydah as well, but the majority of Yemen’s population lives in its west along the Red Sea.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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