SANAA (Reuters) – Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition struck a house north of Yemen’s capital where a crowd of mourners was gathered, residents said on Thursday, killing nine women and a child and injuring dozens.
The Saudi-led coalition said it was investigating reports of civilian casualties in the area.
The air strike hit the house of a local tribal leader in Ashira, a village north of Sanaa, on Wednesday night, a resident told Reuters. Mourners had gathered there to offer condolences after a woman died.
“People heard the sound of planes and started running from the house but then the bombs hit the house directly. The roof collapsed. Blood was everywhere,” a second resident of Ashira, who gave his name as Hamid Ali, told a Reuters cameraman.
Pictures published by local media showed tribesmen searching through the rubble of a destroyed house said to belong to Mohammed al-Nakaya, a tribal leader allied with Yemen’s Houthi movement.
One showed a man kneeling in the dust cradling the body of an elderly woman.
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the pictures.
“We are aware of media reports that Houthi rebels are claiming that Yemeni civilians were killed in an air raid overnight near Sanaa,” the coalition said in statement.
“There has been fighting between Yemeni armed forces and rebels in this area in recent days. We are investigating the reports.”
In October the alliance of mainly Gulf Arab states was heavily criticized after launching an air strike on a funeral gathering in Sanaa that killed 140 people, according to one U.N. estimate.
The death toll from that strike was one of the highest in any single incident since the alliance began military operations in March 2015 to try to restore the administration of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who the Houthis ousted.
The White House said at the time it might consider cutting its support to the Saudi-led campaign which has been providing air support for Hadi’s forces in a civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced millions.
The alliance, which says it does not target civilians, blamed the October funeral attack on incorrect information it said it received from the Yemeni military that armed Houthi leaders were in the area.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Tom Finn and Sami Aboudi,; Editing by Toby Chopra and John Stonestreet)