World / Middle East

Death toll from airstrike on wedding party in Yemen rises to 131

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-29 21:20

ADEN, Yemen - The death toll from a mistaken airstrike on a wedding ceremony in southern Yemen has risen to 131, a Yemeni official said on Tuesday, marking one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Yemen's civil war.

Fighter jets of the Saudi-led coalition bombing the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen mistakenly struck a wedding ceremony in Mokha city in Taiz province with several missiles, the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

He said at least 85 women and 12 children were among the dead and scores of others were injured.

On Monday, the air raid struck two tents of a wedding party in Wahijah village, near the Red Sea port city of Mokha, Taiz province, killing at least 35 people, including women and children, according to local residents.

Medical sources said that rescue teams and ambulances continued to work amid great difficulties due to lack of fuel.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Saudi-led Arab coalition denied responsibility for the aerial bombardment of the wedding party, saying that the coalition launched no strikes in Mokha for the past three days.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the airstrikes. "The secretary general expresses his deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and a swift recovery to those injured," his spokesperson said in a statement.

Ban said "there is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen. Its continuation will only bring more human suffering and destruction."

The coalition has been air striking on a daily basis the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi group across Yemen since March 26, when Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to the Saudi capital of Riyadh to take refuge.

The coalition said its intervention aims to restore Hadi's authority in the country.

The Shiite Houthi group seized half of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa last September, and ousted Hadi and his government.

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