İrem UZUN -TDO- Shelling by Houthi rebels hit a women's prison in the country's southwestern province of Taiz, killing at least five prisoners, Yemeni officials have said. The attack on Sunday also wounded two dozen prisoners, including four children staying with their jailed mothers, at the central prison in the government-held province. The internationally-recognized government has accused Iranian-backed Houthi militia of carrying out Sunday’s attack.
The Houthis targeted the female section of the prison with mortar shells, according to the government’s Saba news agency. “This is a criminal and bloodthirsty gang that has long targeted civilian gatherings and residential areas. In addition to the carnage in the prison, they gunned down today two children in eastern Taiz, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition,” Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni army spokesman in Taiz, told Arab News, adding that the prison is almost 12km from the nearest battlefield.
The Houthis have, however, denied the reports saying the strike came from the direction of the coalition forces and news that the attack was orchestrated by the Sana’a government in order to increase international pressure on it.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said attacks on prisons were banned under international law. “The ICRC deplores yesterday’s attack on Taiz central prison that left women and children dead and injured,” the ICRC said on Twitter. “Prisons and their inmates are protected under international humanitarian law and cannot be a targeted, it said.