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All sides to blame for at least 120 attacks on Yemen hospitals, report says

Doctors look after a wounded man at a makeshift hospital in Sana'a, Yemen. Wednesday's report documented at least 120 attacks on Yemeni hospitals and health workers over three years. File Photo by Mohammad Abdullah/UPI
Doctors look after a wounded man at a makeshift hospital in Sana'a, Yemen. Wednesday's report documented at least 120 attacks on Yemeni hospitals and health workers over three years. File Photo by Mohammad Abdullah/UPI | License Photo

March 18 (UPI) -- Medical facilities and health workers in Yemen were targeted more than 100 times between 2015 and 2018, causing harm to the war-torn nation's treatment infrastructure and accelerating its humanitarian crisis, a watchdog report said Wednesday.

The 96-page report by Mwatana for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights said all sides are to blame for at least 120 attacks on Yemeni hospitals and healthcare workers over that three-year span. The study said attacks were documented in 20 of 22 governorates.

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Yemen has in civil war since 2014 when Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, overwhelmed government forces and took control of the capital of Sana'a. The government, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has since been fighting to regain control.

Titled "I Ripped the IV Out and Started Running: Attacks on Healthcare in Yemen," Wednesday's report said the Yemeni government, Saudi coalition and the Houthis have all been responsible for attacks against medical facilities and health workers.

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"Each attack on a health facility reverberates far beyond its walls," Rayan Koteiche, Physicians for Human Rights Middle East and North Africa Researcher, said in a statement. "The killings of doctors, nurses and other health workers deprive communities of desperately-needed healthcare."

The report documented 35 aerial strikes against medical facilities, 46 ground attacks and nine military occupations. Researchers also cited assaults on health workers and looting and interruptions of humanitarian aid by all sides. At least 96 civilians and healthcare workers died in the attacks and more than 200 were injured, it added.

Koteiche said the greatest challenge for those affected in Yemen is that there's no authority to hold anyone accountable.

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"The breakdown in the rule of law in Yemen, furthered by the parties to the conflict, has created a human rights catastrophe with few parallels, in which the protected status of medical facilities and personnel has lost meaning," Koteiche said.

The United Nations has called the ongoing civil war the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with two-thirds of Yemen's 28 million people suffering from hunger and needing aid to survive.

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