Yemen: Houthis accuse Riyadh of killing 17 civilians in recent market attack

The United Nations has condemned the attack on the al-Raqw market in northern Yemen, the third on the same location in just over a month

An attack on the al-Raqw market in northern Yemen has killed 17 civilians, including 12 Ethiopians, the United Nations said on Thursday, according to the Middle East Eye.

The attack is the third to take place in the same location in just over a month. A Houthi spokesperson condemned the attack as “a heinous crime”, accusing Saudi Arabia of carrying out the airstrikes.

Saudi Arabia has not commented on the incident or the accusations.

On 22 November, another attack on the same market killed 10 civilians, including Ethiopian nationals, and a second attack claimed the lives of another 10 civilians just days later.

“The attacks on al-Raqw market raise deeply troubling questions about the commitment of the parties to the conflict to uphold international humanitarian law,” Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said Wednesday.

“Every attack of this kind is a gross violation,” she said in a statement. The al-Raqw market is located in the Saada governorate, held by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

The attacks come despite relative calm in Yemen, where large-scale combat between government troops — backed by a Saudi-led military coalition — and the Houthis has subsided. 

Houthi spokesperson Mohamed Abdelsalam accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the airstrikes.

Translation: “Adding to its criminal record, the worst in the world, the Saudi regime has committed a heinous crime targeting innocents in al-Raqw market in the border municipality of Manbah. The attack shows that the powers of aggression continue their bloody attacks, overlooking the serious consequences.”

The UN says 89 civilians have either been killed or wounded in the attacks on the market.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since March 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemen conflict to back the government against the Houthi insurgents.

The UN considers the war in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.