ADEN: At least 41 Yemeni civilians were killed when Saudi-led coalition warplanes hit a market on Tuesday in the rebel-held northern Hajja province, medics and tribal sources said.

An official at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the facility had received the bodies of 41 people killed in the raids, along with 35 people who were wounded.

A health official in Hajja said the casualties were civilians and included children, adding that “the toll could rise”.

Local officials and tribal sources said that coalition warplanes carried out several raids on the market in the town of Mustabaa.

The rebel-run sabanews.net website said that the coalition carried out two raids targeting the market and a restaurant in the area and gave a toll of 65 civilians dead and 55 wounded.

It quoted an unnamed source as saying that health facilities in Mustabaa and the neighbouring town of Abs were receiving the casualties but were short on medical supplies.

The coalition launched its campaign against Iran-backed rebels in support of the Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on March 26 last year.

Rights groups have repeatedly urged the coalition to avoid causing civilian casualties.

Last month, Human Rights Watch accused the coalition of using US-supplied cluster bombs.

The coalition has said that an independent inquiry would examine charges of possible abuses against civilians in the conflict.

A panel of UN experts says the coalition has carried out 119 sorties that violated humanitarian law, and called for an international probe.

In February, a coalition air strike on a market northeast of rebel-held capital Sanaa killed at least 30 rebels and civilians, according to witnesses. It targeted three rebel vehicles as they entered the market.

But it was not immediately clear why the coalition targeted the market in Mustabaa and there was no word yet from the Arab alliance led by Yemen’s neighbour Saudi Arabia on the raids.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2016

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