The Bombing of a Hospital in Yemen

An air strike killed 11 and injured 19 others in Hajja province Monday, days after the collapse of peace talks.

A Houthi soldier overlooking demonstrations in Sanaa, Yemen.
Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

Updated on August 15 at 5:24 p.m. EST

NEWS BRIEF An air strike struck a hospital in northern Yemen on Monday, killing 11 and wounding at least 19, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said in a statement.

The strike, which news outlets say was conducted by Saudi-led coalition forces, partially destroyed Abs Hospital, a facility in Hajja province, which MSF has run since July 2015. More than 4,000 patients have been treated in the facility over the past year.

“This is the fourth attack against an MSF facility in less than 12 months,” said Teresa Sancristóval, the MSF emergency program manager for Yemen. “Once again, today we witness the tragic consequences of the bombing of a hospital. Once again, a fully functional hospital full of patients and MSF national and international staff members was bombed in a war that has shown no respect for medical facilities or patients.”

A day before the strike, MSF tweeted saying access to health care is increasingly limited in the country, where the humanitarian situation has deteriorated since hostilities between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels resumed last week following the collapse of United Nations-facilitated peace talks.

Access to humanitarian supplies was further complicated last week with the closure of Yemen’s airspace by the Saudi-led coalition, which has barred humanitarian and commercial flights from entering the Sanaa airport, according to Oxfam International.

MSF-run medical facilities have been the repeated targets of air strikes in Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan in the last three years, leading to the deaths of dozens of patients, doctors, and staff. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian group experienced one of its worst attacks in October when a MSF trauma facility was hit by a U.S. air strike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 people.

The attack on the hospital in Yemen comes after an air strike hit a school in northern Yemen Saturday, killing 10 children and injuring 21 others. The bombing coincided with the convening of Yemen’s parliament for the first time in two years—a move seen as bolstering the Iran-allied Houthi rebels, who have controlled the capital of Sanaa since 2014. The government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, called the parliamentary session illegal.

The UN-led peace talks collapsed last week after the Houthis and the party of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh created a 10-member governing council to run the country—a move condemned by the government and the UN as a constitutional violation. The talks first began in Switzerland in December, nine months after the conflict began. They resumed in Kuwait after both sides reached a temporary ceasefire in April.

The Saudi-led coalition began a campaign of air strikes against Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen in March 2015. Since then, the UN estimates that more than 9,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians. More than two million people have been internally displaced.