U.N. says airstrike kills 42 refugees off Yemen

Reuters DUBAI (Reuters) — Forty-two Somali refugees were killed when a helicopter gunship attacked their boat off Yemen on Thursday, the United Nations refugee agency said, and Somalia called on the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country to investigate.

Mohamed al-Alay, a coastguard officer in the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah area, said the refugees, carrying official UNHCR documents, were going to Sudan from Yemen when an Apache helicopter attacked near the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The area is part of a broad front where forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states, are fighting the Iran-allied Houthi movement, which controls most of north and western Yemen.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack.

The UNHCR said on its Twitter account that 42 refugees were reported dead and 39 wounded were being treated in hospitals. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had earlier said 33 were dead, 29 wounded and other passengers were missing.

“We do not know who carried it out but survivors said they came under attack from another boat at 9 p.m., the crew used lights and shouted to signal this is a civilian boat,” ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said.Speech

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