Arab coalition yet to respond to charge it carried out attack in Sanban in second such incident in just over a week.
by Al Jazeera
A suspected air strike has killed at least 13 people at a wedding party in a town in Yemen, witnesses say, even as UN peace efforts make headway.
Medical sources said 38 people were wounded, besides the dead, in Wednesday’s incident in Dhamar province.
There was no immediate comment from the Arab coalition, which has been conducting a bombing campaign against the Iran-allied Shia Houthi fighters and their allies in Yemen since March.
The alleged raid hit a house where dozens of people were celebrating the wedding in Sanban, 100km south of the capital Sanaa, residents said.
The incident is the second alleged coalition strike on a wedding party in the Arabian Peninsula country in just over a week.
“Coalition warplanes launched the attack. The house was completely destroyed,” Taha al-Zuba, a witness and local resident, said.
“Warplanes were heard in the area ahead of the attack.”
The Houthi-affiliated Al Masirah television said on Twitter that the wedding was hit by “aggression warplanes”, referring to the coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia.
In September, a suspected coalition strike killed at least 131 civilians at a wedding near the Red Sea city of al-Mokha, which the UN said may have been the deadliest hit since March.
The air strike in Sanban comes as the UN announced that the Houthis, who control Sanaa and much of central and northern Yemen, had accepted a Security Council resolution calling for an end to the conflict.
The Houthis’ refusal to agree to abide by the resolution passed in April – demanding their withdrawal from all the territory they have seized since they overran Sanaa in September last year – had blocked previous peace efforts.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled into exile in neighbouring Saudi Arabia in March but whose forces have since recaptured much of the south with the support of coalition ground troops, had refused to join UN-brokered peace talks until the Houthis signed up.
But Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, announced in New York late on Wednesday that both the Houthis and their allies had confirmed they were willing to enter talks based on the UN resolution.
“This is an important step,” he said.
The Houthi fighters, whose heartland is in the mountains of the far north, were only able to capture so much of the country because of the support of renegade troops still loyal to Hadi’s deposed predecessor, Ali Abullah Saleh.
Saleh’s General People’s Congress party too announced on Wednesday that it had accepted the UN peace plan following secret talks with Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN envoy for Yemen.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed “believes that the government of Yemen, the Houthis and their allies should accept the invitation to join peace talks on this basis”, Dujarric said on Wednesday.