BREAKING: Military Attack Kills At Least 42 Refugees Off Coast… Here’s What We Know

Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

Yemen’s Shiite rebels accused the Saudi-led coalition of carrying out the attack. The coalition has been heavily bombarding the nearby coast around the Yemeni city of Hodeida, and it accuses the rebels, known as Houthis, of smuggling weapons into the port in small boats. There was no immediate coalition comment.

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A Yemeni trafficker who survived the attack said the boat was filled with Somali refugees, including women and children, who were trying to reach Sudan from war-torn Yemen, Fox News reports.

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Al-Hassan Ghaleb Mohammed told The Associated Press the boat had left from Ras Arra, along the southern coastline in Yemen’s Hodeida province, and was 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast, near the Bab al-Mandab strait, when the military vessel and then the helicopter gunship opened fire.

He described a scene of panic in which the refugees held up flashlights, apparently to show that they were poor migrants. He said the helicopter then stopped firing, but only after dozens had been killed. Mohammed was unharmed in the attack.

A top official with the U.N.’s migration agency said 42 bodies have been recovered from the attack. Mohammed Abdiker, emergencies director at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, said the attack at around 3 a.m. on Friday was “totally unacceptable” and that responsible combatants should have checked who was aboard the boat “before firing on it.”

He said about 75 men and 15 women who survived the attack were taken to detention centers, and some bodies were laid in a fish market in the town of Hodeida because of a lack of space in mortuaries. Laurent De Boeck, the head of the IOM’s Yemeni office, said the U.N. agency believes all those on board the stricken vessel were registered refugees.

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The Houthis said they had shot down a helicopter gunship in the same area a day earlier, without providing evidence. They also said the coalition had carried out a wave of airstrikes over the past 48 hours in southern Hodeida, including a helicopter gunship assault on a fishing vessel that killed a number of fishermen hours before the strike on the migrant boat.

A Yemeni medical official in Hodeida said only 14 bodies had arrived so far, adding that women were among the dead. Another 25 wounded people, including some who had lost arms and legs, were brought to the hospital, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The U.N. refugee agency said on its Twitter account that it was “appalled by this tragic incident, the latest in which civilians continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict in Yemen.”

God Bless.

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