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2700 civilians killed in Yemen, 20000 displaced - Alliance Yemeni

Women and children were among those killed when the vessel was attacked near the Bab al-Mandeb strait, the port officials said.

In Geneva, IOM spokesman Joel Millman told reporters that he was unable to confirm news reports indicating that an Apache helicopter gunship was responsible for the attack. The coalition has been heavily bombarding the nearby coast around the Yemeni city of Hodeida, and it accuses the rebels, known as Houthis, of smuggling weapons into the port in small boats. There was no immediate coalition comment.

Mohammed Abdiker, emergencies director at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, said the attack was "totally unacceptable" and questioned why there had been no effort to check who was on board the boat before it was sacked upon.

A top official with the UN's migration agency said 42 bodies were recovered from the attack, which took place around 3 a.m. Friday.

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Since the last two years, Riyadhhas been waging an offensive in Yemen's south to flush out Houthi rebels, who are fighting to oust the country's president, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

A rebel-run news agency in Yemen says an airstrike in the Red Sea near a key strait has hit a boat carrying Somali refugees, killing and wounding dozens.

He said the refugees held up flashlights in an attempt to show they were migrants.

De Boeck added that 77 survivors who were pulled out of the water were taken to a detention centre in Hodieda. The helicopter then stopped firing, he said, but only after dozens had been killed. Mohammed was unharmed in the attack.

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Despite violence that has left more than 10,000 people dead and 17 million facing starvation, African migrants seeking work in Saudi Arabia have continued using Yemen as a transit point.

There were also 25 wounded, including those who lost arms and legs, who were brought to the hospital, he said.

In January, a senior United Nations official said it is estimated that the death toll in the conflict has surpassed 10,000 people.

The Saudi-led coalition began its campaign in March 2015 in support of Yemen's internationally recognized government.

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