YEMEN CONFLICT AIRSTRIKES FUNERAL.jpg
Yemenis inspect the site of Saudi-led airstrikes hit a funeral ceremony in Sana’a, Yemen, 08 October 2016. According to reports, at least 140 Yemenis were killed and more than 500 injured when Saudi-led airstrikes hit a funeral hall filled with mourners in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
Photograph: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB

More than 140 people have been killed in an airstrike on a funeral in Yemen, the UN said Saturday citing local health officials.

"Initial reports from health officials in Sana'a indicate that over140 people were killed and over 525 injured," said the statement from the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick.

"The humanitarian community in Yemen is shocked and outraged bytoday's airstrikes which hit the community hall of Al-Sala Alkubrawhere thousands of mourners were taking part in a funeral ceremony," McGoldrick said.

Witnesses said that four strikes, suspected to have been launched by a Saudi-led coalition, had hit the hall in southern Sana'a where a mourning ceremony was being held for the late father of pro-rebel Interior Minister Galal al-Rawishan.

Al-Rawishan survived the attack unharmed.

The dead included the governor of Sana'a, Abdel-Qader Helal, and other senior officials from the Houthi rebels, medical officials in Sana'a said.

A ruling rebel council condemned the attack and vowed revenge.

The Sana’a-based Higher Political Council called on its backers to take to the streets on Sunday to protest against what it called “this criminality.”

The Saudi-led alliance denied it had bombed the site.

“The Arab alliance did not carry out any operations in the site of the bombing,” the coalition said, according to Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya.

Sana'a has been under the Iran-allied Houthis' control since September 2014 amid an escalating power struggle between them and internationally recognized President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The conflict has taken a toll on Yemen's civilians.

In August, UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a report that 2,067 civilians were killed in Yemen between July 2015 and June 2016 - 1,259 of whom died in Saudi-led airstrikes.

Yemen's conflict has intensified since March 2015, when the rebels advanced on the southern city of Aden, prompting Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni allies to start an air campaign in Yemen against the group.

Saudi Arabia fears that the mostly Shiite rebels will give its regional rival, Shiite Iran, a strategic foothold on the Arabian Peninsula.

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