An airstrike hit a bus in a market in northern Yemen on Thursday, killing at least 43 people, including children, and wounding as many as 63, according to Yemen's rebel-run Health Ministry. The airstrike came from the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in the country, and the coalition said it was in retaliation for a missile fired at the kingdom the previous day. Yemen's rebel-run Al Masirah TV aired dramatic images of wounded children, their clothes and schoolbags covered with blood as they lay on hospital stretchers, per the AP. The attack took place in the Dahyan market in Saada province, a Houthi stronghold that lies along the border with Saudi Arabia. The bus was ferrying local civilians, including many children, according to Yemeni tribal leaders.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said an ICRC-supported hospital received dozens of dead and wounded following the attack. "Scores killed, even more injured, most under the age of ten," adds the head of the ICRC in Yemen. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said the attack targeted rebels who had fired a missile at the kingdom's south, killing one person and wounding 11 others. The coalition said Wednesday's projectile, fired toward the southwestern Saudi city of Jizan, was intercepted and destroyed but its fragments caused the casualties. The spokesman insisted Thursday's attack was a "legitimate military action." Saudi Arabia backs Yemen's internationally recognized government and has been at war with the Houthis since March 2015. The rebels control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.