SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Shiite rebels killed at least 30 people, mostly civilians, when they hit a market area outside the capital on Saturday, Yemeni security officials said.
They said the raid hit the popular market in the Nihm district, killing at least 22 civilians and leaving burned bodies strewn across the area. The officials, who are neutral in a conflict that has split the armed forces, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
The strike comes a day after aid and rights groups urged Western countries to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, which is striking the Iran-backed rebels, known as Houthis, to support forces loyal to the internationally recognized government. The Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and other Yemeni cities in 2014.
The U.N. says the fighting in Yemen has killed more than 6,000 people since March 2015 and wounded more than 35,000.
The Control Arms Coalition said in a report Friday that 11 countries – including France, Britain, the U.S. and Germany –sold arms such as drones, missiles and bombs worth $25 billion to the Saudis in 2015.
This Monday, governments that signed the Arms Trade Treaty, which has the aim of “reducing the human suffering” by imposing restrictions on arms sold to countries that violate international law, will meet in Geneva.
European Union lawmakers have also called for an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia over the airstrikes and naval blockade imposed on Yemen, despite lobbying by the kingdom.
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