SANAA, Yemen -- A senior health official in Yemen said Friday that an airstrike by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led military coalition fighting in the impoverished country had targeted a funeral hall packed with mourners, killing at least 82 people.
Nasser al-Argaly, the Health Ministry’s undersecretary, said Saturday’s strike also left 534 people wounded.
Al-Argaly, addressing a news conference, said the casualty figures were not final. Video from the scene of the strike showed men removing many badly burned bodies from the funeral hall.
Yemeni security and medical officials said the dead and wounded included military and security officials from the ranks of the Shiite Houthi rebels fighting the internationally-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi as well as their allies, loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Saudi-led coalition backs Hadi’s government in Yemen’s ongoing civil war. Theby providing weaponry and intelligence.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed “deep concern” in September over increasing attacks against civilians in Yemen, with a total of 180 civilians killed in one month, raising the death toll to nearly 4000 since March 2015.