Saudi-led coalition denies targeting Yemen rebel detention centre

Dozens of people were killed on Saturday at a Houthi prison used to hold migrants, reports say

Saudi-led coalition spokesman, Brig Gen Turki Al Malki, said claims of a coalition strike on a Houthi rebel detention centre in Yemen were groundless.  Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen has denied targeting a detention centre in Saada province, saying the facility hit was not a site restricted from strikes.

"These claims adopted by the militia are baseless and unfounded," Brig Gen Turki Al Malki, the coalition spokesman, said in a statement carried by the state Saudi Press Agency.

He said the target in Saada was not on no-targeting lists agreed upon with the UN's humanitarian aid agency and the Red Cross, and did not meet the standards stipulated by the Third Geneva Convention for Prisoners of War.

"The coalition will inform the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the facts and details," Brig Gen Al Malki said.

Reports from Yemen said dozens of people were killed on Saturday in an attack on a Houthi detention centre used to hold migrants.

The coalition has stepped up strikes against the rebels in response to increasing drone and missile attacks on neighbouring countries. The Houthis have repeatedly struck Saudi Arabia and have escalated attacks recently. On Monday, a Houthi drone attack claimed three lives in the UAE, a member of the coalition which supports Yemen's internationally recognised government.

The UN Security Council on Friday condemned the attacks on Abu Dhabi as "heinous terrorist crimes".

The Iran-backed rebels continue to hold the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and large areas of the north after nearly seven years of civil war.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 6:17 AM