At least 20 people were killed after an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, health officials said, as harrowing images of the bombing emerged on social media.
**The following social media posts contain graphic imagery. Readers may find the below posts distressing.**
The dead were mostly women and children - including the bride - who were gathered in one of the tents set up for the wedding party in the district of Bani Qayis, according to Khaled al-Nadhri, the top health official in the northern province of Hajja.
Hospital chief Mohammed al-Sawmali said the groom and 45 of the wounded were brought to the local al-Jomhouri hospital.
Terrible news coming out from Yemen that Saudi Arabia has carried out double-tap air strikes on a wedding party in Hajjah's Bank Qais district https://t.co/KRSDEjg1qc— Faisal | فيصل عيدروس (@faisaledroos) April 22, 2018
MSF Ireland said in a statement:
"Following a series of nighttime air strikes on 22 April in Bani Qays, in Yemen, a hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Hajjah, has received 45 wounded individuals."
Among the wounded were at least 13 children, some of whom arrived to hospital in critical condition.
"Hospital staff in Hajjah are working around the clock to treat the wounded. Last night airstrikes were among the most devastating in the area in recent months," the MSF said.
Double-tap air strikes targeted a wedding ceremony in "Bani Qais" district, in Hajjah Governorate
The first outcome: More than 40 civilians killed and injured. pic.twitter.com/Km5tTGVSHB— Ahmed Jahaf احمد جحاف (@A7medJa7af) April 22, 2018
Footage from the scene of the air strike 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 air strikes as the jets continued to fly overhead.
The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a war on Yemen's Shia rebels, known as Houthis, who control much of the north, and the capital, Sanaa, to restore the internationally recognised government to power.
20 people killed&30 injured.April 23, 2018
Over the past three years, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands wounded while more than 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. Air strikes have hit weddings, busy markets, hospitals, and schools.
#Yemen: harrowing video of rescue op. in Hajja yesterday after saudico strike on a wedding party claiming 88 people: you don't have to speak Arabic to understand the scale of human suffering in Yemen in this video. Preserve your humanity, demand an end to aggression against Yemen pic.twitter.com/0RhZWpgRVs— HR4Y (@HR4Yemen) April 23, 2018
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 criticised 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.
#Yemen: the remains of the wedding party in Hajja yesterday. What's happening to Yemen will happen to all of you if you don't stand up now and demand an end to the impunity against the state of Yemen and it's people by the saudi coalition and it's shameless inhumane allies pic.twitter.com/KvrR5GNsAR— HR4Y (@HR4Yemen) April 23, 2018