Yemen war: Children killed in Saudi-led air strike on bus

Yemen is in the grip of a brutal civil war

In a statement Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition said the strike was a "legitimate military action to target elements that planned and carried out" an attack that targeted civilians in Jizan, a border city in southwest Saudi Arabia.

The coalition did not specify the target, but the International Committee of the Red Cross said the attack hit a bus filled with children, causing dozens of casualties.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said medics in the Yemeni city of Saada, where the attack took place, had received the bodies of the children, all of them under 15 years of age.

"Today's attack in Saada was a legitimate military operation. and was carried out in accordance with worldwide humanitarian law", the Arabic-language statement said.

The attack was also denounced by the United Nations children agency, UNICEF.

The Iran-backed Shiite militia has controlled Yemen's northwest, including Saada, since ousting the country's internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

Saudi Arabia said it shot down a rebel missile, with shrapnel leaving a Yemeni resident dead and 11 wounded.

On August 2, attacks on a hospital and a fish market in the strategic rebel-held port city of Hodeida killed at least 55 civilians and wounded 170, according to the ICRC.

Turki al-Malki was defiant about the attack on the busload of children, saying it was retaliation for a missile strike from the rebel Houthis.

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In response, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam called the coalition statement "absolutely ridiculous".

Footage from the scene, in the area of northern Yemen that is the heartland of the Houthi rebels fighting the recognised government, showed children as young as six being pulled from the wreckage.

It's not the first time the coalition has hit a residential area this month. It went on to accuse Houthi rebels of using children as human shields.

At least 43 people were killed and another 63 were injured on Thursday when a market in Yemen was attacked, The Associated Press reported citing Yemen's rebel-run Health Ministry.

Turki al-Malki said the attack was "a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with worldwide humanitarian law".

Yemen's war has left almost 10,000 people dead since 2015 and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"We are calling the Saudi led coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident", she said.

The Houthis have launched a series of missile strikes on the kingdom, including Riyadh, over the past year. But the coalition denied carrying out any attacks in the city, saying it follows a "strict and transparent approach based on the rules worldwide law".

The U.N. special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been pushing to bring the warring parties to restart peace talks.

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