File photo. Rescue workers carry an injured man to an ambulance after Saudi-led coalition air strikes on a prison in Saada, Yemen, on 21 January, 2022. (Photo credit: Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed dozens of civilians at a prison in the Yemeni city of Saada in the early hours of 21 January.
In a statement issued through his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief called for “prompt, effective and transparent investigations” into the incident to ensure accountability. He also reminded the coalition that attacking civilians and civilian facilities constitutes a war crime.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Red Crescent in Yemen, Basheer Omar, on 22 January said the number of casualties from the attack on the prison has surpassed 100. He added that the figure is expected to increase as more bodies are still being pulled out from under the rubble.
The brutal attack by Riyadh’s warplanes also injured hundreds of people. According to international medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), more than 260 people have been admitted to the main hospital in the city.
However, in statement released through the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on 22 January, the Saudi-led coalition denied attacking the prison.
“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will share with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross the facts and details, as well as the media misinformation which has been exhibited by the [Ansarallah movement] regarding the target and the location of the claim,” the coalition’s statement reads.
Meanwhile various political and resistance movements across West Asia have also condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s attack on the prison and other civilian facilities in Yemen.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas accused the coalition of brutalizing the Ansarallah movement and the people of Yemen in order to appease Israel and the US.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement sent its solidarity to the people of Yemen and said it is confident that they will defeat the aggressors in the end.
Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah said the brutal attacks on civilian facilities and areas is evidence of the coalition’s disregard for humanitarian, moral and religious principles. Hezbollah also condemned the failure by the international community to condemn the aggression against Yemen.
Finally, Iran also spoke out against the airstrikes on Saada, issuing a statement that says: “The continuation of the [Saudi-led] coalition’s military attacks on Yemen [which are carried out] amid the silence and indifference of the international community, the uncontrolled sale of weapons to the aggressors and adoption of biased approaches and double standard policies in international circles in the face of seven years of cruel aggression against the Yemeni people have made the path to achieve a just peace in the country even more difficult.”