Three grooms among 13 killed in rocket strike at Yemen wedding
SANAA/ADEN – Three brothers preparing to get married on Thursday were among at least 13 people killed in a rocket attack on a village in southwest Yemen and villagers said the strike was probably carried out by Saudi-led coalition jets.
The incident, if confirmed, would be the third attack in the last two weeks to kill civilians and recalls an air strike that killed more than 130 people at a Yemeni wedding party on Sept. 28.
The previous attacks have drawn international criticism of the Saudi-led coalition that is battling Iran-backed Houthis in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation in order to restore Yemen’s ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Residents in the town of Sanban said the three brothers had been waiting for their brides’ party to arrive when the missile hit their house. At least 10 other people were killed, the residents said. The brides were unharmed.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A coalition spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment, but the Arab alliance says it does not target civilians.
The Houthi-run Saba news agency reported that a coalition air raid in Sanban had killed or wounded dozens of people at a wedding celebration and that the toll might exceed 30.
On Wednesday rights group Amnesty International urged countries including the United States and Britain to stop arming the Saudi-led coalition. In a report, Amnesty said there was an urgent need for an independent investigation of violations.
The Arab coalition began its air strikes against the Houthis and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in late March after a push from their northern stronghold toward the southern port of Aden.
The Saudi-led coalition, which says the Houthis are stooges of Iran, stepped up air strikes on Yemen’s capital Sanaa and other Houthi-held areas after a Houthi missile killed more than 60 Gulf Arab troops stationed in Marib province on Sept. 4.
In other violence in Yemen on Thursday, a prominent judge and a senior army officer were shot dead by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles in two separate incidents, security sources said, adding that Islamist militants were suspected of the killings.
Abbas Hassan al-Aqrabi, a judge at the Special Criminal Court which had jailed militants, was shot on the street in the port of Aden. Colonel Jamal al-Suqqaf was shot outside his home in western Aden. Both men died immediately, the sources said.
The two killings followed coordinated explosions on Tuesday claimed by Islamic State at the Qasr Hotel, where Yemen’s government was temporarily based, and at a United Arab Emirates military base, killing 15 people including four Gulf soldiers. –Reuters