UN: Saudi coalition caused two-thirds of civilian deaths in Yemen

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Nearly two-thirds of civilians who died in the conflict in Yemen have been allegedly killed in airstrikes conducted by the Saudi-led military coalition, a UN human rights spokesman said Tuesday in Geneva.

The rate was from a recent UN report covering events in Yemen until the end of June, spokesman Rupert Colville said after Yemeni officials reported that a coalition air raid killed 131 guests at a wedding on Monday.

However, the Saudi-led alliance denied Tuesday that its forces had carried out the air raid near the coastal city of Mocha.

“The coalition had no aerial activities in that area in the last three days,” coalition spokesman Ahmed Asiri told Saudi media. “These reports are utterly false.”

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched their air campaign in March against Yemen’s Houthi fighters, after these rebels forced President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi into exile.

Since then, 2,355 civilians have been killed and 4,862 have been wounded, not including Monday’s incident, according to Colville.

He noted that both sides in the conflict were responsible for civilian deaths “as a result of airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling in residential areas.”

Riyadh fears that the mainly Shiite Houthi rebels will give its regional rival, Iran, a foothold on the Arabian peninsula.

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