Online Whistle-blower magazine, Intercept wrote in a report on the ongoing Saudi-led war on Yemen that bombing medical facilities has become ‘a usual business’ for the US-backed coalition, as the blatant attacks on the civilians by Saudis and the forces they support have been widely gone unpunished by the international community.
The magazine, which at a time served as a platform to report on the documents released by Whistle-blower Edward Snowden wrote in the report that bombing MSF-supported hospital in Yemen’s Haydan district in October, airstrikes destroying an MSF clinic in Taiz in December while doctors were treating the wounded from a nearby Saudi airstrike in a park, and now bombing a hospital supported by the charity group in Abs hospital, located in Hajjah province are only the tip of the iceberg of increasing brazen attacks by the Saudi-led coalition against medical facilities across the impoverished country of Yemen.
In October attack on the MSF-supported hospital in Haydan, the coalition destroyed the only emergency medical facility serving 200,000 people. And also in January, the coalition destroyed a hospital in Razeh district, killing five people, and killing an ambulance driver working for MSF later that month.
Those strikes have been widely reported because they targeted a prominent Western charity, but the coalition has likely carried out far more attacks on Yemeni-run hospitals. During the first eight months of the war, between March and November 2015, the International Red Cross received hundreds of reports on attacks on health facilities throughout the country.
The hospital attack comes in the midst of an aggressive offensive by the Saudi regime after Houthi rebels in Yemen rejected a one-sided peace deal earlier this month. The coalition has since destroyed a food factory, a children’s school, and a bridge that Oxfam described as “the main supply route for Sana.”
The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has pushed the country into a humanitarian crisis. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia has imposed a strict blockade on Yemen, which previously imported 90 percent of its food and medicine.
According to UNICEF in May, the conflict has left 21 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and more than 300,000 children under 5 at risk of severe malnutrition.
Intercept added that the US State Department rare condemnation of the coalition’s violence offered by the State Department’s spokesperson, Elizabeth Trudeau was too late and too little.
While, she condemned the Saudi-led coalition attack on the MSF hospital in Hajjah, in her latest press briefing this week, the State Department has previously deflected questions about coalition attacks by referring reporters to the Saudi government even though the US has supplied the coalition with billions of dollars of weapons, and has refueled Saudi planes.
Trudeau also stressed that “US officials regularly engage with Saudi officials” about civilian casualties, a line that spokespeople have repeated for months. Saudi Arabia has nevertheless continued to bomb civilian sites, including homes, markets, factories, and schools.
Trudeau also denounced the destruction of a bridge that the Oxfam charity group described as “the main supply route for Sana’.
“We have seen those reports, and if the bridge was deliberately struck by coalition forces, we would find this completely unacceptable,” she said. “The bridge was critical for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, destruction will further complicate efforts to provide assistance to the people of Yemen.”
Trudeau clarified with reporters after the briefing that she meant that statement as a condemnation. “The bridge you saw me condemn that today,” she said. Condemnation, rather than, say, concern, is considered strong diplomatic language.
By the way, despite the condemnations, Trudeau refused to say whether the State Department would reconsider arming the Saudi regime. “I have nothing to preview on that,” she concluded.