On Saturday, dozens of people were killed in a Houthi prison used to house migrants

Saudi Arabia denies bombing of detention center in Yemen

AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE - The spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition, Colonel Turki al-Maliki

The Saudi-led military coalition intervening since 2015 against Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are aligned with Iran, denied its involvement in the bombing of a prison center in Saada province, where more than 60 people have been killed due to the attack, claiming that the facility was not a restricted place for attacks.

"These claims adopted by the (Houthi) militia are baseless," said the brigade's spokesman, Turki al-Malki, in a statement published by the Saudi state news agency SPA.

The general also specified that the said site was not included in the lists of facilities that cannot be bombed, agreed with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in addition to alleging that it did not comply with "the rules of International Humanitarian Law concerning detention centers (...) which establishes distinctive symbols and preventive measures for such places." 

"The Coalition Joint Forces Command will share with OCHA and the ICRC the facts and details, as well as the media misinformation displayed by the Houthi terrorist militia regarding the target and its location," the al Malki brigade spokesman assured. 

 Secretary of State Antony Blinken

According to the latest casualty count provided to EFE by the Saada Health Directorate, at least 63 people were killed and 140 injured at the site of the attack.

However, the Houthi government's Ministry of Health increased the death toll to 77 and 190 injured. 

Notably, this attack followed another devastating bombing in the rebel-held capital of Sana'a, which killed 14 people and wounded 11.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, condemned the attacks perpetrated by the Saudi-led military coalition.

The attack took place at a detention center for defendants awaiting trial, many of whom are African migrants arriving in Yemen with the aim of gaining access to Saudi Arabia, which borders Sa'ada, in response to earlier rebel attacks in Abu Dhabi.   

An image capture taken from a video provided by the al-Huthi Media Office shows Huthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree speaking at a press conference.

On the U.S. side, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the current situation in the country is a "matter of great concern to the United States," in addition to calling for a "de-escalation" of the conflict.

"The escalation of fighting only exacerbates the grave humanitarian crisis and suffering of the Yemeni people. That is why the United States calls on all parties to the conflict to de-escalate," Blinken said in a State Department statement.  

As a result, the Secretary of State called on the parties involved in the conflict to "comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law" and to commit to "a peaceful diplomatic solution". 

According to information coming from the State Department, Blinken spoke with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan al Saud, to whom he assured of his "commitment to help Gulf partners enhance their capabilities to defend against threats from Yemen."

Supporters of the Houthi movement carry a mock drone during a rally held to commemorate Ashura in Saada, Yemen Sept. 10, 2019 

Likewise, the Houthis have repeatedly attacked Saudi Arabia, intensifying attacks recently. 

Last Monday, a Houthi drone strike resulted in 3 deaths in the United Arab Emirates.

The United Nations Security Council called the attacks in Abu Dhabi "heinous terrorist crimes."

The Council "condemned in the strongest terms the heinous terrorist attacks in Abu Dhabi."

The UN body also stressed "the need to hold the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice."

Houthi rebels in Yemen have blocked half of UN aid delivery programs in the war-torn country.

Furthermore, the UN Security Council added that "any act of terrorism is criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomever it is committed," threatening "international peace and security caused by terrorist acts."

The Iranian-backed rebels currently remain in control of the Yemeni capital and other northern areas after seven years of civil war.   

Tensions have escalated since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 to restore the recognized government in the capital Sanaa. 

That war has been described by the UN as the world's largest humanitarian crisis.