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An Airstrike On A Funeral Has Become The Latest In A Line Of Horrors In Yemen

An already bloody war saw the stakes raised as 140 were killed in an airstrike on a funeral home and missiles were fired into Saudi Arabia.

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An airstrike on a funeral home in Yemen on Saturday left more than 100 people dead and an already horrific conflict set to escalate even further.

Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Getty Images

Yemen has been reeling since 2015, when a group of rebels known as the Houthis took control of the country's capital, Sana. In response, and inspired by fears that the Houthis were puppets of Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states banded together to push back the Houthis. That's taken the form of a punishing bombing campaign that has lasted for over a year and a half, destroying several cultural sites and killing thousands of civilians.

The Saudi-led airstrikes have been widely condemned for their indiscriminate nature, but the strike on a reception hall filled with mourners had the effect of being damaging both for civilians and the hopes for a settlement.

Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Getty Images

The funeral home was packed with local politicians and members of important tribes from throughout Yemen, including some who wished to move the stalled peace process forward. The airstrike left several of them dead.

“They killed and injured several important moderate leaders who were working with them, who wanted a deal,” April Longley Alley, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, told the New York Times. “Now the desire for revenge is high, and militants will be empowered, which puts us in a situation where a compromise might not be possible.”

The United Nations on Saturday said that at least 140 people had died in the attack. The Yemen Health Ministry put the number injured at over 600.

On Sunday night, the Houthis appeared to retaliate against the strike with a set of Scud missiles fired at Saudi Arabia, striking deeper than ever into the kingdom.

الذي يقول تم اعتراض الصاروخ في الجوي الصاروخ اليماني وصل وصل الارض وهذا فيديو #الطايف

One ballistic missile appeared to land near a Saudi airbase in Taif, near the city of Mecca. The Saudi government said it intercepted two other missiles also fired from Yemen.

Soon after, the Pentagon confirmed that missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled territory at the USS Mason, a destroyer based in the Red Sea.

Department of Defense

The ship took defensive maneuvers after learning of the launch and both missiles fired fell into the sea, the Pentagon said. The Houthis, however, denied that they were the ones to launch the missiles at the US vessel.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday condemned the strike on the funeral home as "a heartless attack and outrageous violation of international humanitarian law."

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty Images

Ban also called for an investigation into the attack, a call that was echoed by UN human rights chief Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad.

It also appears that US officials are becoming concerned about the legal repercussions of their ongoing support for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen.

Str / AFP / Getty Images

The US approved the sale of $1.15 billion worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in August. As the deal was being completed, State Department lawyers reportedly debated just how culpable the sale would leave the United States for civilian deaths carried out with the new hardware. The lawyers did not reach a conclusion on whether the US would be on the hook for war crimes, Reuters reported.

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at hayes.brown@buzzfeed.com.

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