Saudi-led coalition will probe reports of Yemen airstrike killed seven people

The Saudi-led coalition said Thursday it will probe reports of an airstrike targeting a gathering of female mourners near the capital, which killed seven people.

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The airstrike hit a house packed with mourners in Arhab, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Sanaa, on Wednesday. Fahd Maqhat, head of the nearby Omeria hospital, said six women and one girl were killed, and that another 10 women were wounded.

“There have been ongoing military confrontations for days between the Yemeni armed forces and Houthi militias” outside Sanaa, the coalition said in a statement, referring to the Shiite Houthi rebels who control the capital. “We will verify these claims and provide media outlets with any information we obtain.”

Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said he was “saddened and appalled” by the attack on the funeral gathering.

“It is not the first time that a funeral gathering is struck by airstrikes, nor is it the first time that women and children are killed in civilian premises such as hospitals, schools and private homes,” he said in a statement. “The manner in which the parties to the conflict are waging this war is taking an unacceptable toll on the civilian population in Yemen.”

The war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced over three million people. It pits the Houthis and allied army units against the U.S.-backed coalition, which is fighting to restore an internationally recognized government.

Tens of thousands of people have been trapped in the war zone, unable to flee to safety, the U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said Thursday, calling on all the parties to the conflict to “respect the sanctity of civilian life.”