West News Wire: A Saudi-led airstrike targeted a prison in Yemen killing over 70 and wounding 100 detainees on Friday, another airstrike took off the internet of the Arab world’s poorest country.
A strike in the port city of Hodeida, later confirmed by satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press, hit a telecommunication center there that’s key to Yemen’s connection to the internet.
Airstrikes also hit near Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. The intense campaign comes after the Houthis claimed a drone and missile attack that struck inside the capital of the United Arab Emirates earlier in the week.
Basheer Omar, an International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson in Yemen said rescuers continued to go through the prison site in the northern city of Saada, moving the wounded to facilities elsewhere. “The toll is likely to increase, unfortunately,” Omar said.
Doctors Without Borders in a separate statement put the number of wounded alone at “around 200” people.
“From what I hear from my colleague in Saada, there are many bodies still at the scene of the airstrike, many missing people,” said Ahmed Mahat, the organization’s head of mission in Yemen. “It is impossible to know how many people have been killed. It seems to have been a horrific act of violence.”
The organization Save the Children said over 60 were killed in Saada, describing the prison holding detained migrants.
“The initial casualties report from Saada is horrifying,” said Gillian Moyes, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen. “Migrants seeking better lives for themselves and their families, Yemeni civilians injured by the dozens, is a picture we never hoped to wake up to in Yemen.”
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the strike in Saada.
As for the airstrike in Hodeida that apparently took Yemen entirely offline, NetBlocks said the internet disruption began around 1 a.m. local and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that controls internet access in the country.
Yemen faces “a nation-scale collapse of internet connectivity” after an airstrike on a telecommunications building, NetBlocks said.
The Norwegian Refugee Council decried the strike as “a blatant attack on civilian infrastructure that will also impact our aid delivery.”
The Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel said the strike on the telecommunications building had killed and wounded people. It released chaotic footage of people digging through rubble for a body as gunshots could be heard. Aid workers assisted bloodied survivors.
Save the Children said the airstrike in Hodeida killed at least three children playing on a soccer field.