Saudi-coalition air strikes kill at least 16 civilians in Yemen's Hodeidah

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Bombs hit a factory for vegetable packaging in Bayt al-Faqih, wounding twelve other workers, medical workers and residents say

The Saudi-led coalition has conducted frequent air strikes targeting the Houthi group and has often hit civilians (AFP)
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Thursday 25 October 2018 11:47 UTC
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At least 16 people have been killed in air strikes that hit a factory for vegetable packaging in Yemen's Hodeidah province, medical workers and residents have said.

A Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen's war in 2015 has conducted frequent air strikes targeting the Iran-aligned Houthi group and has often hit civilians, although it denies doing so intentionally.

Medics and residents in Bayt al-Faqih, a town 70km south of Hodeidah city, said twelve people were also wounded on Wednesday.

They said bombs fell on a vegetable packaging factory in the al-Masoudi neighbourhood and the victims were workers there, the Reuters news agency reported.

Houthi media said 19 were killed and 10 were wounded in the same area.

Residents said violent clashes erupted in the southern outskirts of Hodeidah, a port city that pro-government forces have been trying to capture from the Houthis since the renewal of an offensive in September.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Colonel Turki al-Malki, said the alliance is investigating the incident.

"We take this report very seriously and it will be fully investigated, as all reports of this nature are, using an internationally approved, independent process," he said.

Whilst this is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The coalition sometimes admits "errors" and pledges to hold accountable anyone who caused civilian deaths.

In August, a coalition air strike hit a school bus in a crowded market, killing 40 children.

The bombing of the market killed a total of 51 people, according to the Red Cross.

Fifty-six children were also among the 79 people wounded in the 9 August strike.

Human Rights Watch described August's attack as an "apparent war crime" and said countries like the United States who are arming the oil-rich Kingdom were "complicit in future deadly attacks on civilians".

The coalition entered Yemen's conflict after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The UN says there have been nearly 10,000 confirmed deaths in the conflict since the coalition intervened in 2015, although the real number is far higher, AFP reported.

The conflict has triggered what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with three-quarters of the population - or 22 million people - in need of humanitarian aid.