Washington: As accusations grew over the US reported support of the Saudi-led coalition in the attack in Yemen that caused huge civilian casualties, the US State Department has urged to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the airstrikes. In a press briefing on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said although Washington does not have full details of the attacks on the ground, it is certainly “concerned about” the reports of civilian casualties in the war-torn Middle East nation, Xinhua reported.
“We call on the Saudi-led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident. We take all credible accounts of civilian casualties very seriously. We call on the parties to take appropriate measures to protect civilians in accordance with international law and urge all parties to investigate all reported incidents of civilian casualties,” she said. Washington has been reportedly provided weapons, training and targeting data to Saudi Arabia that had facilitated the attacks.
As questions have also mounted over the Saudi-led coalition’s earlier assertion that the attacks had been conducted in accordance with international law, the call for further investigation into the issue by independent bodies has been rising. At least 43 civilians, mostly children, were killed on Thursday when Saudi-led coalition air strikes hit buses in Yemen’s northern province of Saada.
The Saudi-led coalition later defended the airstrike as “legitimate” response to a deadly Houthi attack on the Saudi border city Jazan. Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam mocked the statement, saying “this is a war crime”. Henrietta Fore, head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), strongly condemned the airstrike. “Attacks on children are absolutely unacceptable,” said Fore. “I’m horrified by the reported airstrike on innocent children, some with Unicef backpacks. Enough is enough.” (IANS)