Saudi Arabia says its jets could not have attacked hospital in Yemen

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Ambassador Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The Saudi Ambassador to the UN said his country's planes could not have carried out an attack on Monday on a Yemini hospital, run by an international medical charity.

He was speaking after the Security Council met on Wednesday, to discuss humanitarian assistance to civilians in the war-torn country.

Matthew Wells reports:

In a meeting organised by Jordan, Council members were briefed on the latest efforts to provide comprehensive humanitarian aid to Yemen.

The UN's Humanitarian Affairs chief was joined in the meeting by the Saudi ambassador, together with the chairman of a leading Saudi-based humanitarian centre.

In response to a question about Monday's bombing of a hospital in Saada province, run by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, said the Saudis were not responsible:

"The Arab coalition aircraft, did not carry out operations in Saada at the time of the reported incident. The nearest area of operations was close to the Saudi-Yemeni border, about 40kms north of the above-mentioned hospital."

He expressed "deep regret" that a statement had come from the spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General on Tuesday, which condemned the airstrike and attributed it to the coalition, saying that a thorough investigation needed to be carried out first.

The UN statement had pointed out that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law.

MSF also initially described the attack as a "war-crime" carried out by a coalition jet, and reported that several missiles had completely destroyed the hospital. There were injuries, but no loss of life.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

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