The Saudi-led coalition has official denied responsibility for the airstrikes that destroyed a prison in the northern Yemeni province of Saada on January 21, killing at least 82 people and wounding more than 260 others.
In a statement released on January 22, Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki, a spokesman for the coalition, said that the targeted prison was not on UN-coordinated “No Strike List” without dismissing the fact that the airstrikes were carried out by coalition fighter jets. The spokesman also accused the Houthis (Ansar Allah) of spreading fake news.
“The target in question has not been placed on the No Strike List (NSL) in accordance with the agreed upon mechanism with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Yemen, has not been reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and does not adhere to the rules of the International Humanitarian Law concerning detention centers stated in Article (23) of Geneva Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, which establishes distinctive symbols and preventative measures for such locations,” the statement reads.
Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki didn’t comment on the January 20 airstrikes on the Communications Directorate building in the western Yemeni city of al-Hudaydah. The aerial attack claimed the lives of six people, including three children, and wounded 18 others.
The coalition’s deadly airstrikes on Saada and al-Hudaydah were condemned by the UN and a number of international humanitarian organizations. UN chief António Guterres said in a statement on January 21 that the “escalation needs to stop”.
From their side, the Houthis vowed to respond to the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes. The group’s spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, even called on foreign companies investing in the United Arab Emirates to “leave”.