Saudi Airstrike on Yemen School Bus Kills at Least 50, Mostly Children

Yemen is in the grip of a brutal civil war

Saudi-led coalition air strikes on Thursday killed dozens of people, including children travelling on a bus, in Yemen's Saada province, Yemeni medical sources and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

But the International Committee of the Red Cross said the strike hit a bus filled with children in the Huthi stronghold of Saada, causing dozens of casualties.

On Twitter, the Red Cross in Yemen said a hospital it supports had received 29 dead children, all under 15 years old, and another 48 injured people.

The "Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen" said it had carried out a legitimate military action in the area targeting Houthis responsible for a deadly missile attack on Jazan on Wednesday.

Yemen's Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said that some 50 civilians had been killed and over 70 wounded in an airstrike that hit a bus, a lot of them were reported to be young children.

The UN children's agency UNICEF said it was "very concerned with the initial reports of children being killed".

The assault was the latest in a string of airstrikes to target civilians by an American-backed regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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

He stressed that the Houthi leaders and terrorist elements responsible for firing ballistic missiles and targeting civilians will be targeted as part of the coalition efforts to prevent terrorist elements from harming regional and worldwide security.

The group's head of delegation in Yemen, Johannes Bruwer, tweeted "scores killed, even more injured, most under the age of 10".

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The alliance also accused the Houthis of using children as human shields.

Footage provided by the rebels' Ansarullah Media Centre showed a number of wounded children lying two to a hospital bed, while in a separate shot medics tended to casualties in a crowded room.

The children were reportedly on a field trip, when their bus was hit by an airstrike.

Col Al Maliki said the coalition was not intentionally targeting civilians, saying the forces used "a high standard measure for targeting, ... civilian casualties are a loss to the coalition and we can not accept high civilian casualties in Yemen".

The Red Cross Yemen branch noted that under global humanitarian law, civilians should be protected during times of war.

The US State Department called on Thursday for the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the air strikes.

Impoverished Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is now in the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people in need of assistance.

Saudi Arabia says this was a legitimate military operation, targeting Yemeni rebels backed by Iran, its arch enemy.

A USA military spokeswoman said United States forces were not involved in Thursday's air strike.

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