TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Officials said on Thursday that a Saudi-led coalition airstrike at a fruit-and-vegetable market near Yemen's port of Hudaydah killed 19 civilians, including children.
Wednesday's strike came amid mounting fears of a fresh coalition assault on Hudaydah, a city that has been the lifeline for international aid deliveries to Yemen, ravaged by a brutal three-and-a-half year Saudi-led alliance war.
The airstrike, which hit the outdoor market in the town of Bayt el-Faqih, just south of Hudaydah, also wounded six people. Initial reports had five dead but the death toll steadily climbed overnight, ABC news reported.
The director of the Bayt el-Faqih hospital, Abdullah Shahawi, said all the victims were civilians and that at least two children were among the dead.
It's not uncommon for coalition jets to hit civilians in Yemen's war and wedding parties, funerals, residential homes and hospitals have been struck in the past.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has sent reinforcements to Yemen's west coast for what many fear would be an intensified battle for Hudaydah.
The city's port literally keeps millions of starving Yemenis alive, as it serves as entry point for 70 percent of food imports and international aid. A protracted siege of Hudaydah by the coalition could cut off that lifeline.
The Saudi war on the Yemen erupted in March 2015. An estimated 15,000 people have been killed so far and the conflict has devastated Yemen and pushed it to the brink of famine.
The war has also left around two-thirds of Yemen's population of 27 million relying on aid, and over 8 million at risk of starvation.