Sanaa: An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people, health officials said today, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the bombing the previous day.
Khaled al-Nadhri, the top health official in the northern province of Hajja, told The Associated Press that most of the dead were women and children who were gathered in one of the tents set up for the wedding party in the district of Bani Qayis. He says the bride was also among the dead.
Hospital chief Mohammed al-Sawmali said the groom and 45 of the wounded were brought to the local al-Jomhouri hospital.
Footage that emerged from the scene of the airstrike shows scattered body parts and a young boy in a green shirt hugging a man’s lifeless body, screaming and crying.
Health ministry spokesman Abdel-Hakim al-Kahlan said ambulances were initially unable to reach the site of the bombing for fear of subsequent airstrikes as the jets continued to fly overhead after the initial strike.
The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a war on Yemen’s Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who control much of the north, and the capital, Sanaa, to restore the internationally recognised government to power.
Over the past three years, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands wounded while over 3 million people have been displaced because of the fighting.
UN officials and rights groups accused the coalition of committing war crimes and of being responsible for most of the killings. Airstrikes have hit weddings, busy markets, hospitals, and schools.
The Saudi-led coalition blames the Houthi rebels, saying they are using civilians as human shields and hiding among the civilian population.
The United States and European countries have also been criticized and accused of complicity in the coalition’s attacks in Yemen because of their support for the alliance and for supplying it with weapons worth billions of dollars.
Afghan officials: Taliban attacks kill 14 troops, policemen Kabul, Apr 23 (AP) Taliban attacks in western Afghanistan killed 14 soldiers and policemen today as Kabul residents prepared to bury their loved ones slain in a horrific bombing by the Islamic State group that targeted a voter registration center the day before, killing 57.
Prayer services were held for the Kabul victims as families of those killed in yesterday’s bombing carried the bodies of their kin and dug the graves at a cemetery in the hills above the Afghan capital.
The first of today’s near-simultaneous attacks in western Badghis province hit army units in the district of Ab Kamari, killing nine soldiers, said Ghulam Sarwar Haidari, the deputy provincial police chief.
Moments later, another large group of insurgents struck police in Qadis district, killing five policemen.
Sharafuddin Majidi, spokesman for the provincial governor, confirmed the casualty tolls. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the Badghis attacks in a statement to the media.
The attacks came on the heels of yesterday’s suicide blast in Kabul. The staggering casualty toll – 57 dead and 119 wounded – underscored the struggles the government faces to rein in militant assaults even in large and well-protected urban centres.
The explosion shook the city around 10 am, shattering windows miles from the site of the attack, leaving the pavement covered with bodies and blood stains and destroying nearby vehicles.
The bomber targeted civilians who were registering for national identification cards, Kabul police said. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite “apostates.”
Afghan security forces have struggled to prevent a recent surge in attacks both by the local Islamic State affiliate as well as the more firmly established Taliban. The attacks increased after the US and NATO concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
Both groups regularly carry out attacks, with the Taliban usually targeting the government and security forces and IS targeting the country’s Shiite minority.
In violence elsewhere in Afghanistan, four policemen were killed and three were wounded on Monday in a Taliban attack in western Farah province, in Bala Buluk district, according to Mohammad Naser Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Three Taliban fighters were killed and two others were wounded in the gunbattle there that lasted two hours, Mehri said.
In eastern Nangarhar province’s Chaparhar district, militants killed three university students yesterday, said Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman. The three were brothers, he added.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the killing, but Khogyani blamed the Islamic State group, which has been active in Chaparhar and repeatedly claimed attacks in the district.
The latest violence comes as US and the Afghan troops have been conducting counter-terrorism operations and airstrikes across Afghanistan, including in Nangarhar, to root out IS and prevent the group from expanding its footprint in the country.