By Zeynep Tufekci
SANA, Yemen (AA): Death toll rose to 42 in an airstrike on a migrant boat in the Red Sea off Yemen, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Saturday.
The boat was packed with Somali migrants, including women and children, heading to Sudan. They were travelling from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab el-Mandeb strait.
IOM said it provided medical, food and financial assistance for the 39 migrants who were rescued in the attack.
“The attack took place in the Red Sea off Yemen, late Thursday,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a news conference in Geneva on Friday.
The rebel-controlled Saba agency said the refugees had been attacked from the air by the Saudi-led coalition battling the insurgents, but did not provide further details.
Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition in the war in Yemen, has US-built Apache A-64 Longbow attack helicopters.
Maj Gen Ahmed Assiri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, dismissed the accusation saying that the force had not been involved in fighting in Hodeida.
According to New York Times, The boat was attacked by a Saudi-led military coalition, Yemeni officials said. A spokesman for the coalition did not respond to requests for comment, but Saudi officials have accused Iran of smuggling weapons by sea to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control the territory around the port, and vowed to stop it.
The statement said that Yemen hosts 270,000 migrants including 255,000 Somalis.
No one has yet claimed the attack.
Additional reports from Agencies
[Photo: Dead bodies lay on the coast after airstrike hit a boat carrying Somali migrants, including women and children who were heading to Sudan, in Red Sea, on March 17, 2017 in Al Hudaydah, Yemen. Photo by Stringer/AA]