Seven killed in bombing of Save Children-supported hospital in Yemen

A missile struck a petrol station near the entrance to Ritaf rural hospital, about 100km from the city of Saada in the northwest of the country, at 9.30am.

The hospital had been open for only half an hour and many patients and staff were arriving on a busy morning. They included a health worker who died along with their two children.

Also among the dead were two other children and a security guard. In addition to those killed and missing, a further eight people were wounded in the attack.

The missile was said to have landed within 50 meters of the facility’s main building, on the fourth anniversary of the escalation of conflict in Yemen.

Save the Children, which reported earlier this week that 37 children a month had been killed or injured by foreign bombs in the last year, demanded an urgent investigation into the latest atrocity.

Paul Ronalds, the chief executive of Save the Children Australia, said:

“This is a shocking and outrageous attack, costing the lives of innocent children and health workers. It appears to have been an indiscriminate attack on a hospital in a heavily populated civilian area. Attacks like these are a breach of international law and cannot be tolerated.

“Save the Children runs several hospitals like this one across Yemen, providing children with life-saving aid. Health facilities, as well as homes and schools, must be places where children can be safe, free from attack. However, too often we see complete disregard by all warring parties in Yemen for the basic rules of war. We must Stop this War on Children.

“Save the Children is calling for an immediate suspension of arms sales to warring parties in Yemen. This includes from Australia, which is continuing to issue defence export licences to parties to the conflict.”

The aid agency, which covers some of the staff costs at the hospital, is also calling for full diplomatic pressure to be applied to all parties in the conflict to resolve it through consultation and negotiation, and for those who commit violations of international law to be held to account.

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