Emirati Red Crescent says team targeted by gunmen in Yemen
The Emirati Red Crescent said Wednesday one of its mobile health clinics was attacked by gunmen in war-torn Yemen, in a strike it condemned as a “cowardly terrorist act”.
It did not mention any casualties in the assault in Yemen’s third largest city of Taez, which is under government control but surrounded by forces of the Iran-backed Huthi rebels.
The United Arab Emirates is a member of the military coalition led by its ally Saudi Arabia, which intervened in the conflict five years ago to support Yemen’s internationally recognised government.
“The Emirates Red Crescent condemns and deeply regrets the cowardly terrorist act that targeted its medical staff working in mobile clinics,” the organisation said in a statement.
The “shooting attack” on its medical staff “represents a major violation of international norms, treaties and covenants”, it said.
The UAE foreign ministry did not accuse any group of the attack, but also criticised the breaching of conventions that provide special protection for aid and rescue workers.
“The ministry stressed that such hostile acts impede relief operations and hinder humanitarian access in Yemen, which may aggravate the plight of the people and worsen their conditions,” the state news agency WAM said.
Yemen’s long war has plunged the country — the poorest on the Arabian peninsula — into what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
As a result of the conflict, nearly 80 percent of the population is dependent on some form of humanitarian aid, with the situation deteriorating sharply this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis which has seen donor funding dry up.