– United Nations aid envoy Stephen O’Brien said he was “horrified and extremely disturbed” by an attack on a funeral ceremony in Yemen that killed more than 140 victims late Saturday, according to Anadolu Agency.
“This horrendous and heinous attack displayed an utter disregard for human life,” O’Brien said. “It highlights once again the disproportionate risk for civilians when explosive weapons are used in urban areas,” he said in a statement that did not apportion blame.
The attack on a community hall during a funeral procession left more than 500 people injured, raising the possibility of additional deaths.
The White House also condemned the attack, but in a more vocal statement that put the blame squarely on a Saudi-led campaign that has been pounding Houthi positions inside Yemen since last September and triggered a humanitarian crisis that has long spiraled out of control.
“In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition,” National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
He added that the U.S. was ready to alter its “support so as to better align with U.S. principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen’s tragic conflict”, calling on all sides to commit to a truce.
Four out of five Yemenis, in a population of 28 million people, is in immediate need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.
Approximately 370,000 children are severely malnourished to the degree that their immune systems are compromised, and 1.5 million more suffer from malnutrition, according to UNICEF.
A Saudi-led coalition last year launched an operation in Yemen against the Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa after the ouster of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.