An airstrike in Yemen struck a wedding in a village near the coastal city of Mocha Monday, killing at least 27 people, at least eight of whom were children, multiple reports said. Since March, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group that gained control of large swathes in the country earlier this year.
But Monday's deadly airstrikes were "a mistake," a senior government official told the Associated Press. People in the village, al-Wahga, said many of the victims were women and children.
Some reports posted higher estimates of casualties, with one as high 80 deaths. Dozens were wounded, according to the Associated Press.
— Hussain Albukhaiti (@HussainBukhaiti) September 28, 2015
In a separate incident Sunday, Saudi attack helicopters killed 30 civilians in a village near the Yemen-Saudi border, Reuters reported. The Saudis denied the reports.
Saudi Arabia supports Yemen's embattled government and its internationally recognized president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia in March before returning to the southern port city of Aden in September. The United States backs the Saudi-led coalition, which includes Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan, to push back the Houthis, who control Sanaa, Yemen's capital.
In Yemen's conflict, Hadi, who is backed in the southern part of the country by local militias called the Popular Resistance Committees, as well as local tribes, is pitted against the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional enemy. Both groups are enemies of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, an offshoot of the broader network of Al Qaeda that has exploited the instability there to gain support.
Nearly 5,000 people, nearly half of them civilians, have been killed in the fighting since late March, according to the United Nations.