Middle East

Yemen conflict: 'Dozens killed' in strike on Hajja market

The Houthi rebel movements al-Masirah TV broadcast what it said was video of the aftermath of the air strike in Hajja on 15 March 2016 Image copyright Al-Masirah
Image caption The Houthis' al-Masirah TV broadcast what it said was video of the aftermath of the air strike

At least 41 civilians have been killed and 35 others wounded in an air strike by Saudi-led coalition warplanes in northern Yemen, medics say.

Witnesses said at least two missiles hit a busy market in the Mustaba district of Hajja province at midday.

Video footage purportedly of the aftermath showed what appeared to be the bodies of several children.

Hajja is controlled by Houthi rebels, who the coalition is battling on behalf of Yemen's government.

More than 6,200 people, half of them civilians, have been killed since the coalition launched a military campaign to defeat the rebels at the end of March 2015, according to the UN.

Last month, two-thirds of the 168 civilian deaths were attributed to air strikes.

'Blood everywhere'

"The scene was terrifying," witness Showei Hamoud told the Associated Press by telephone after Tuesday's attack. "Blood and body parts everywhere."

"People collected the torn limbs in bags and blankets," he said, adding that many of the dead were children who worked at market stalls or carried goods.

The international medical charity, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), initially said in a series of tweets that it had received 40 injured civilians at its Abs hospital, among them women and children.

But a doctor at the hospital later told the AFP news agency that it had received the bodies of 41 people, along with 35 others who were wounded.

The director of the Hajja health department, Dr Ayman Mathkour, also told the Reuters news agency that the death toll stood at 41.

The pro-Houthi Saba news agency reported that a total of 65 civilians had died in raids on the market and a nearby restaurant.

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi-led coalition.

In January, a UN panel found that coalition air strikes had targeted civilians in Yemen and assessed that some attacks might constitute crimes against humanity.