At least 40 people at a refugee camp in north Yemen were killed on Monday in an air strike apparently targeting Houthi fighters who are battling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The camp was hit by Saudi planes and the dead included women and children, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing aid workers and Yemen’s state news agency Saba which is controlled by the Houthis.
A Saudi military spokesman said his government is seeking clarification on the incident.
“It could have been that the fighter jets replied to fire and we cannot confirm that it was a refugee camp,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said.
“We will ask the Yemeni official agencies to confirm that,” he told reporters.
Hadi’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yassin, earlier blamed Houthi artillery for the explosion.
The International Organisation for Migration, which initially reported 45 deaths, said 40 people were killed and 200 wounded, dozens severely.
A humanitarian worker said earlier that the strike hit a truck of Houthi militiamen at the gate to the Mazraq camp, near Haradh, killing residents, guards and fighters.
The medical aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres said at least 34 wounded people were brought to a hospital in Haradh which it supports. Another 29 were dead on arrival.
“People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions… and now they have suffered the consequences of an air strike on the camp,” said Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen.
Mazraq, in the province of Hajja next to the Saudi border, is a cluster of camps that are home to thousands of Yemenis displaced by more than a decade of wars between the Houthis and the Yemeni state, as well as East African migrants.
Saudi Arabia, supported by regional Sunni Muslim allies, launched an air campaign to support Hadi after he withdrew last month from the capital to Aden.
He left Yemen on Thursday to attend an Arab summit and has not returned.
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