An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen hit a bus in a market in the north of the country on Thursday, killing at least 20 people, including children, and wounding as many as 35, Yemeni tribal leaders said.
The airstrike hit the Dahyan market in Saada province, a Houthi stronghold, along the border with Saudi Arabia.
According to Yemeni elders, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, the bus was ferrying local civilians, including many school children.
Johannes Bruwer, head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen, said in a twitter post, "Scores killed, even more injured, most under the age of 10."
The Saudi-led coalition said it targeted the Houthis, who had fired a missile at the kingdom's south the previous day, killing one person and wounding 11 others.
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. According to the TV, 39 people were killed and 51 wounded, mainly children.
Yemen’s 3-year conflict
Saudi Arabia and Sunni Muslim allies have been fighting in Yemen for more than three years against the Iran-aligned Houthis, who control much of north Yemen including the capital Sanaa and drove a Saudi-backed government into exile in 2014.
Later on Thursday, airstrikes hit the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and sounds of the blasts reverberated across the city's southern and western neighborhoods. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties in those strikes.
Worst humanitarian crisis
Already one of the region’s poorest nations before the start of the war in 2015 , Yemen today is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people, or 75% of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict has left 2 million people displaced from their homes.