Yemen conflict: ‘Deadly air strike’ near school

BBC News, January 9, 2017
A Saudi-led coalition air strike is reported to have killed five people near a primary school in north Yemen.

Two children were among the dead in the Nihm district, which is held by the rebel Houthi movement, medical and security sources told AFP news agency.

Initially the rebel-controlled Saba news agency put the death toll at eight and said the school was “flattened”.

There has been no comment by the coalition, which has conducted air strikes on the rebels since March 2015.

The coalition says it does not target civilians, but the UN says its air strikes have caused thousands of civilian deaths and injuries.

Saba cited residents and rescuers as saying the al-Falah primary school, about 53km (33 miles) north-west of the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa, had been “flattened” in Tuesday’s attack.

The agency reported that eight children were killed and 15 others critically wounded, and that other casualties might be buried under the rubble.

But medical sources told AFP that two children were killed, identifying the other fatalities as three members of staff.

AFP also initially reported that the school had been hit but later corrected its story, saying a market near the school was struck.

The conflict has taken a toll on children’s access to education in Yemen.

The UN says more than 1,600 schools are currently unfit for use due to damage, presence of displaced people, or occupation by combatants. Some two million children are out of school.

In August, 10 children were killed in what medics said was a coalition air strike on a Koranic school in the northern province of Saada. However, a coalition investigation subsequently concluded it had not bombed the area at the time of the incident.