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At least 20 dead after airstrike hits bus carrying children in Yemen

09 August 2018

Iran has sharply condemned a Saudi-led airstrike that killed dozens of Yemeni civilians, mostly children on a school bus, calling on the world community to put pressure on the Riyadh regime and its allies to stop perpetrating more crimes in the impoverished country.

The Red Cross said it received the bodies of 29 kids under the age of 15.

The head of the ICRC's delegation in the country later said most of the casualties were under the age of 10, adding that the organisation was sending additional supplies to hospitals in the area. "The school bus was totally burned and destroyed".

"Our staff are telling us that the students were on their way back to school from a picnic when the driver stopped to get a drink".

In a statement on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, expressed sympathy with the families of those killed and injured in the latest Saudi airstrike, which hit the bus at a market in Yemen's northwestern province of Sa'ada earlier in the day.

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We urge all parties to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities, return to the negotiation table to commit to a ceasefire and cooperate with the U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. "Spare the Yemeni people more death and misery", said Sylvia Ghaly of Save the Children.

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

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He added that this operation was "implemented in accordance with global humanitarian law and customary rules".

It was unclear how numerous dead in total were children and how many air strikes were carried out in the area, in northern Yemen, near the border with Saudi Arabia.

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.

Houthi militants responsible for firing ballistic missiles and targeting civilians "will be held accountable", said the Saudi statement.

The Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict widely seen as a proxy battle between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"Shrapnel from the intercepted missile scattered over residential areas, martyring a Yemeni resident and wounding 11", said Col Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen's government. As Al Jazeera reported, a third of the 258 attacks carried out by Saudi and UAE forces in June targeted non-military sites.

There was no breakdown in the casualties and it was not immediately clear how numerous victims were on the bus itself and how many were pedestrians in the immediate area around it.

At least 20 dead after airstrike hits bus carrying children in Yemen