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On 9 August 2018, Saudi Arabian expeditionary aircraft bombed a civilian school bus passing through a crowded market with U.S.-made bombs in Dahyan, Saada Governorate, Yemen, near the border with Saudi Arabia.[4][5][6][7] At least 40[8] children were killed, all under 15 years old[9] and most under age 10.[6] Sources disagree on the exact number of deaths, but they estimate that the air strike killed about 51 people.[1][4][5][10][11]

Dahyan air strike
Part of Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
LocationDahyan, Sa'dah governorate, Yemen
Coordinates17°03′54″N 43°36′01″E / 17.06500°N 43.60028°E / 17.06500; 43.60028Coordinates: 17°03′54″N 43°36′01″E / 17.06500°N 43.60028°E / 17.06500; 43.60028
TargetCivilian bus
DeathsAt least 51 people (per Houthi's Health Ministry)[1][2]
At least 48 (per the Red Cross)[3]
At least 79 people (per Houthi's Health Ministry)[1][2]
PerpetratorsSaudi Arabian Armed Forces



According to Save the Children, at the time of the attack the children were on a bus heading back to school from a picnic when the driver stopped to get refreshment at the market in Dahyan.[9] Most of the children were under age 10, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.[6] A Red Cross–supported hospital in Saada received the bodies of 29 children under 15 years of age and 48 wounded individuals, 30 of whom were children.[12] A total of 40 children were killed in the strike.[13]

According to a resident of Dahyan, the warplanes had been hovering over the area for more than an hour before they attacked.[14] Another witness said, "Our shops were open and shoppers were walking around as usual. All those who died were residents, children and shop owners."[15] According to Yahya Hussein, a teacher who was traveling separately from the bus, "The scene can't be described—there was body parts and blood everywhere."[16]

The bomb that killed the children was a 227 kg (500 lb) laser-guided Mk 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin. It had been supplied by the United States to Saudi Arabia.[8]

Media coverageEdit

The attack came to light after videos were posted on Twitter depicting the remains of the bus and the children.[4] Images of the victims were aired on the Al Masirah TV network, highlighting dramatic images of blood and debris-covered children lying on hospital stretchers.[12] The Saudi Arabian coalition later issued a statement saying that they conducted an airstrike in Saada but were targeting Houthi missile launchers.[4] The mass funeral of the children was aired on the Al Mariah TV network, with thousands of Yemenis participating.[17]



The official Saudi Arabian press agency called the strike a "legitimate military action" which targeted those who were responsible for a rebel missile attack on the Saudi Arabian city of Jizan on Wednesday.[9][18] They also claimed that the airstrikes "conformed to international and humanitarian laws"[9] and that Houthis were using children as human shields.[9] Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee reported that there were no Houthis in the vicinity of the strike.[4] A Houthi spokesman said that the coalition showed "clear disregard for civilian life", as the attack had targeted a crowded public place in the city.[19] During the mass funeral of the children, many signs were visible protesting against the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.[17]

On 1 September 2018, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition admitted mistakes, expressing regrets and pledged to hold those responsible for the strikes accountable.[20]


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attack and called for an independent and prompt investigation,[9] and UNICEF strongly condemned the attack.[21]

The United States Department of State called for Saudi Arabia to conduct an investigation into the strike.[19] The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office expressed "deep concern", called for a transparent investigation, and called upon all parties to prevent civilian casualties and to co-operate with the UN to reach a lasting political solution in Yemen.[22] UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended the Saudi–British alliance as important in fighting Islamists.[23]

Non-governmental organisationsEdit

The head of the Yemeni delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross tweeted, "@ICRC_Yemen-supported hospital has received dozens of dead and wounded. Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict."[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Death toll of airstrike on Yemeni children's bus rises to 51, 79 wounded". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "ICRC Yemen on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Schoolchildren riding bus among dozens killed in Saudi airstrike in Yemen | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Yemen: Dozens of civilians killed in school bus attack". Al Jazeera. 10 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Strike on Yemen bus kills 29 children". BBC News. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Al-Mujahed, Ali; Raghavan, Sudarsan (9 August 2018). "Airstrike by U.S.-backed Saudi coalition on bus kills dozens of Yemeni children". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  7. ^ Borger, Julian (19 August 2018). "US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US, August 17, 2018, CNN
  9. ^ a b c d e f Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (9 August 2018). "Dozens dead in Yemen as bus carrying children hit by airstrike". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  10. ^ Marsri, Lena (9 August 2018). "Saudi-led coalition airstrike kills dozens of children on bus in Yemen". ABC News. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Airstrike on children's bus is 'a low point' in Yemen war – UNICEF". Sky News. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Saudi coalition airstrike in Yemen kills 50, rebels say". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "At least 29 children killed by Saudi-led air strike on Yemeni school bus". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  15. ^ Reuters. "Saudi air strikes in Yemen described as 'grotesque'". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  16. ^ Elbagir, Nima; Abdelaziz, Salma; McKenzie, Sheena; Munayyer, Waffa (13 August 2018). "The schoolboys in Yemen were chatting and laughing. Then came the airstrike". CNN. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  17. ^ a b Post, The Jakarta. "Protests at funeral for Yemeni children killed in coalition strike". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Saudi Coalition Bombs School Bus in Yemen, Killing Dozens". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  19. ^ a b Beech, Eric (10 August 2018). Zargham, Mohammad (ed.). "U.S. calls on Saudi-led coalition to probe Yemen attack". Reuters. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ "'Mistakes' admitted in Yemen bus attack". BBC News. 1 September 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Foreign Secretary defends UK-Saudi ties after Yemen bus deaths". BBC News. 22 August 2018.
  24. ^