Aid Group Bombed for the Second Time in Three Weeks

Yemenis protest against Saudi-led airstrikes in their country.Hani Mohammed/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


For the second time in three weeks, a hospital belonging to the international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders has been bombed by warplanes.

The latest attack occurred on Monday night in Yemen, where aircraft from a coalition led by Saudi Arabia attacked a hospital belonging to the aid group, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières. While the group said patients and staff were in the hospital at the time of the attack, they did not report any deaths. The Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Yemen for seven months in a campaign against the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group that currently holds power in the country. But Doctors Without Borders says the Saudis were aware of the hospital’s location. “We provided [the coalition] with all of our GPS coordinates about two weeks ago,” Hassan Boucenine, Doctors Without Borders’ Yemen director, said to Reuters.

That mirrors the attack that took place three weeks ago, when an American AC-130 gunship destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing at least 30 people. The group said the US military had been given the coordinates of the hospital and should have known its location. American officials at first said they didn’t know they had fired on a medical facility. “The hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility,” said Gen. John Campbell, the US military commander in Afghanistan. But more recent reports claim American special operations soldiers knew the building was a hospital but believed the Taliban were using it as a base. The decision to attack the hospital anyway may mean the strike was a war crime under international law.

Boucenine did not shy away from using that language to describe the Saudi strike last night. “It could be a mistake, but the fact of the matter is it’s a war crime,” he told Reuters. “There’s no reason to target a hospital.”

The strike is only a small part of destruction caused by the Saudi-led air campaign, which the United Nations says is responsible for most of the approximately 2,000 civilian deaths in Yemen that have occurred since strikes began in March. The bombings have also leveled historic parts of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, which had survived years of civil war and rebellion since the Arab Spring revolts hit Yemen in 2011.

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate