Yemeni officials blamed Saudi Arabia for Sunday’s airstrike that killed at least 28 civilians and injured 17 in the northern province of Hajjah in Yemen. However, Saudi authorities have denied any involvement in the attack that claimed the lives of several women and children.
The death toll is likely to increase amid an absence of emergency medical services and also because people are still trapped in the rubble, Gen. Zakariya al-Khulani of the Yemeni Defense Ministry told CNN.
A Saudi official, who was not identified, called the Yemeni accusation "totally false news," according to Reuters. "We deny it."
Earlier this month, ground troops from the Saudi-led coalition loyal to exiled Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi launched a “decisive” operation against the Houthis, an Iran-backed Shiite rebel group. Thousands of Saudi-backed forces pushed forward in Yemen’s contested central province of Marib to retake the capital Sanaa from the Houthis. The Shiite rebels currently control much of Yemen’s north.
Previously, in late March, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an air campaign targeting the Houthis in Yemen after Hadi and his administration fled to Riyadh the same month.
The continuing conflict has pitted Saudi Arabia against Iran in a battle for supremacy in the Middle East while simultaneously fueling Sunni-Shia tensions.