Tragedy struck the Yemen capital of Sanaa today when a Saudi-led airstrike made a direct hit on a large funeral gathering. While news service accounts and the testimony of medics on the ground vary as to the total number of casualties, it is presently estimated that up to 720 men, women, and children were injured while another 155-plus are presumed dead.  

Houthi funeral service targeted

Saudi-led coalition forces, which includes Morocco and Jordan while the U.S. has distanced itself from the partnership as of this past August, was said to be targeting a funeral ceremony for the father of the Houthi rebel’s Interior Minister.

The Houthi rebels are currently backed by Iran. According to reports by the AP and SABA News, rebel Houthi military officials were among the casualties in the raid.

At least one missile penetrated the building

Eyewitness accounts of the event state that four separate strikes occurred on the funeral facility. At least one missile penetrated the concrete wall of the funeral hall which exploded on impact. Amateur video and photos of the event posted on social media illustrates the gruesomeness of the attack, with scores of bodies burned and/or mutilated beyond recognition. While fire consumed part of the building, much of it has since collapsed.

Civil War in Yemen

Civil war erupted in Yemen back in 2012 when Ali Abdullah Saleh was deposed and his Iran-backed Houthi supporters made a siege on the capital city of Sanaa.

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The rebel forces have since made great gains to the south of the city, forcing Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile. The Saudi-led air and ground coalition was formed in 2015 with the overall goal of stopping the Houthi advance while restoring power to Hadi. In April of this year, a similar attack by a coalition warplane struck a marketplace in Mastaba, in Yemen’s northern Hajja region. UNICEF reported that 22 children perished in the attack along with scores of civilians. In August a Doctors Without Borders hospital was struck with a coalition missile resulting in 30 casualties.