Three brothers preparing to get married were among the dozens killed in a rocket attack on a village in southwest Yemen Thursday, with locals saying the strike was likely carried out by Saudi-led coalition jets.
Residents in the town of Sanban said the three brothers were waiting for their brides' party to arrive when the missile hit their house. At least 10 other people were killed, the residents said, and some reports indicate upwards of 30 have died. The brides were unharmed.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. A coalition spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment, but the Arab alliance says it does not target civilians. The incident, if confirmed, would be the third attack in the last two weeks that has killed civilians, recalling an airstrike that killed more than 130 people at a Yemeni wedding party on September 28.
The previous attacks have drawn international criticism of the Saudi-led coalition that is battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation with the aim of restoring Yemen's ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. On Wednesday, rights group Amnesty International urged countries, including the US and Britain, to stop arming the Saudi-led coalition. In a report, Amnesty said there was an urgent need for an independent investigation of violations.
The Arab coalition began its airstrikes against the Houthis and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in late March after a push from their northern stronghold towards the southern port of Aden. The Saudi-led coalition, which says the Houthis are stooges of Iran, stepped up airstrikes on Yemen's capital Sanaa and other Houthi-held areas after a Houthi missile killed more than 60 Gulf Arab troops stationed in Marib province on September 4.
On Thursday, Yemen's government dismissed the Houthis' acceptance of a UN-sponsored peace plan and demanded that the Iran-backed group return territory it has seized since last year.
The Houthis, who control much of Yemen along with the party of ex-president Saleh, said Wednesday they had officially informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of their readiness to join talks to end more than six months of fighting in which more than 5,000 people have died.