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article image55 civilians killed in attacks Thursday on Yemen's Hodeida: Red Cross

By AFP     Aug 3, 2018 in World

A series of explosions Thursday on Yemen's rebel-held port city of Hodeida killed 55 civilians and wounded dozens of others, the Red Cross said, denouncing the "reprehensible" disregard for human life.

"While the exact circumstances around the ground explosions are still unknown, this lack of respect for civilian life and civilian property is reprehensible," said Johannes Bruwer, head of the delegation in Yemen for the International Committee of the Red Cross, in a statement Friday.

The Red Cross said 55 civilians were killed and 170 injured "when a series of explosions rocked densely populated districts of the coastal city, including a fish market and the area around Al-Thawra Hospital" -- a facility supported by the ICRC.

Two ambulances were also destroyed, it said.

On Thursday medics and witnesses said at least 20 people were killed in an air strike at the entrance to a hospital and the bombardment of a fish market in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

"The scenes coming from Hodeida are horrific. The disregard of international humanitarian law in Yemen cannot be tolerated," said Bruwer, condemning the attacks.

Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, earlier said hundreds of thousands of people depend on Al-Thawra, the country's largest hospital.

"This is shocking," she said of the attacks.

Yemeni government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition have been conducting an offensive to capture Hodeida from Iran-backed Huthi rebels, but announced last month they were pausing the assault to give UN mediation efforts a chance.

Strikes have picked up again around Hodeida since the Saudis last week said that two oil tankers operated by one of the kingdom's companies were attacked in the waters of the Red Sea.

Rebel-run media outlets accused the Saudi-led coalition of carrying out the attacks in Hodeida.

But the coalition's spokesman, Turki al-Maliki, on Friday denied the charges, accusing the Huthis of having bombed the hospital and the fish market.

The nearest target hit by the coalition on Wednesday or Thursday was more than two kilometres (1.2 miles) away from the two sites, Maliki told a news conference in Riyadh.

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