42 dead in air attack on refugee boat near Yemen

42 dead in air attack on refugee boat near Yemen

Twenty two people were killed in an attack on a mosque during Friday prayers inside a military base in Yemen's Marib province, local officials said.

Yemen's al-Masirah television reported on Thursday that the boat which came under attack was carrying Somali refugees near Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

A sailor who had been operating the boat, Ibrahim Ali Zeyad, said 80 refugees had been rescued after the incident.

In a letter to US President Donald Trump, Amnesty International said the arms sales would only serve to further arm the Saudi-led coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen in violation of international law.

Meanwhile, IOM spokesman Joel Millman said he was unable to confirm news reports that an Apache helicopter gunship was responsible for the attack.

Saudi spokesperson General Ahmed al-Asseri justified the attack by claiming the area, Hudaida, is "illegally" under the control of the rebels.

A Saudi-led coalition was formed in 2015 to fight the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who have fired missiles into neighbouring Saudi Arabia. "There has been no firing by the coalition in this zone", he said.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International stated earlier this week that Washington's arming of the coalition could implicate the U.S. in war crimes and result in even more civilian deaths. The asylum-seekers were then able to hold up flashlights to show the aircraft that they were migrants. Mohammed was unharmed in the attack. "Our confirmation is that there are dozens of deaths and many dozens of survivors brought to hospitals", he told The Associated Press.

It is believed that the boat was headed towards Sudan, and the UN Refugee agency has said that the dead Somalis were carrying official UNHCR documents. Its report couldn't immediately be confirmed.

Some 85 Emirati soldiers have been killed since the beginning of Saudi Arabia's military campaign against Yemen two years ago.

Despite the crisis, Yemen continues to be an important transit point for African migrants.

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