Anger at Houthi attack on Taez cancer hospital

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


The Houthis targeted Al-Amal Oncology Hospital in Taez, seen here in an undated photo. [Photo courtesy of the Human Rights Information and Training Centre]

An attack on a cancer hospital in the city of Taez carried out Saturday (October 24th) by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) has drawn strong local and international condemnation.

Several shells hit al-Amal Cancer Hospital in central Taez, wounding two staff members, damaging the hospital building and sparking panic among patients.

Yemen's Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani strongly condemned the artillery attack, which also hit the nearby Yemeni Swedish Hospital, which is supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

"[Al-Amal] hospital treats 8,500 people and receives 200 cases on a daily basis," al-Eryani said, noting that "the attack targeted the hospital when scores of patients and their families were inside the facility".

Patients were relocated to safer areas within the hospital, non-essential staff were sent away for their safety and several patients left the hospital out of fear, MSF said in a statement posted on social media after the attack.

MSF reiterated its call "to all armed groups that are involved in the Taez city violence to abide by the international humanitarian law and take all necessary precautions to prevent civilian casualties".

The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights Office in Taez also condemned the attack.

"The shelling caused panic among patients who went to the clinic to receive health care and save their lives, only to be targeted by the Houthis," office manager Ali Sarhan told Al-Mashareq.

"The Human Rights Office sent a team to assess damage at the clinic," he said.

In addition to international condemnation, Sarhan said, "measures need to be taken on the ground, including an international investigation to stop such crimes that target hospitals and civilian facilities".

The Human Rights Information and Training Centre (HRITC) and the Yemeni Network for Rights and Freedoms also condemned the attack and demanded that the Houthis be held to account for their actions.

"The hospital is a well-known landmark and is considered the only health facility that provides cancer treatment, especially for children, in Taez," HRITC said.

Local authorities in Taez also called on the international community to condemn the Houthis' crimes, noting that these have been ongoing for six years.

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