At least 51 people were killed Wednesday in an airstrike that hit a hotel on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, officials and local medics said.
Ali Al-Asimi, a senior security official in Sanaa, blamed a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia for the attack on the Arhab district. Most of the dead in the hotel were merchants, Al-Asimi said.
The Saudi-led coalition of Arab states launched its bombing campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who toppled the internationally recognized leadership in Yemen, in 2015.
Saudi officials were not immediately available for comment.
In a briefing, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said he was told the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights was investigating the incident.
Mohammed al-Sarhi, a farmer, told CNN that most of those killed at the hotel died while sleeping and were buried under rubble.
Rescue workers were still pulling bodies from the remains of the hotel on Wednesday afternoon, Hussein al-Tawil, head of the Sanaa branch of the Yemeni Red Cross, told the AFP news agency.
The strike was one of at least two dozen across the country, according to the Health Ministry. At least 26 people were reported injured. Yemen’s Interior Ministry said seven Houthi fighters died in coalition airstrikes at other locations in the capital.
Two-and-a-half years into its grinding civil war, Yemen is facing a near famine and one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in decades.
Last week, the World Health Organization reported that the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen had reached 500,000 – making it the largest cholera epidemic in the world.
Nearly 2,000 people have died since the cholera outbreak began to spread at the end of April, the WHO added.