Photographer: Ahmad al-Basha/AFP via Getty Images

Yemeni Rebels Say Saudi-Led Airstrike Killed 23 Civilians

  • Attack took place on eve of Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia
  • Strike hit vehicle in area where clashes have been raging

An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen killed 23 civilians, including three children, on Wednesday, according to the news agency controlled by Shiite Houthi rebels.

The strike hit a vehicle in the district of Muzaa, west of Taiz, the Saba news agency said. Fierce clashes have been raging in the area for weeks between the rebels and Yemeni government forces -- who are supported by the coalition -- over a strategic military base. The al-Masdar news website said 16 civilians died, including three children and 2 women, when their vehicle was hit as it returned from a local market.

A spokesman for the Yemeni government’s army didn’t answer a call to his phone. The attack came as U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia, a longstanding American ally in the Middle East, on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia, the champion of Sunni Islam in the region, assembled a military coalition in March 2015 to help restore the rule of Yemeni President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi. It has drawn international condemnation over the Yemen war. More than 100 people were killed in an attack on a funeral hall in the capital, Sana’a, last year, triggering protests.

— With assistance by Donna Abu-Nasr

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