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British-backed bombing raids destroy UK aid in Yemen

Aid projects funded by Oxfam in Yemen have been hit in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, it has emerged, as the British government faces mounting pressure to halt arms sales to Riyadh.

A vital cholera treatment centre in Abs, in the Hajjah province, was hit in June in coalition war strikes – which are supported by British intelligence – despite the location being reported to the Saudi alliance more than 12 times.

Two months before that, coalition air raids severely damaged an Oxfam-supported water supply system that provided water for 6,000 people.

The British charity – supported by UK and European funding – revealed the news after Oxfam’s Dina el-Mamoun told the International Development Committee this week that UK aid had been bombed.

Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Toni Pearce, called British policy towards Yemen “irresponsible and incoherent”, three years into a war which has sparked the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in numbers of people and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

She said: “On the one hand, British aid is a vital lifeline, on the other, British bombs are helping to fuel an ongoing war that is leading to countless lives being lost each week to fighting, disease and hunger.

“The UK continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, whose coalition bombing campaign in Yemen has cut off vital food supplies, destroyed hospitals and homes, and hit aid programmes funded by British taxpayers.”

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) reported in June 2015 that coalition warplanes destroyed a warehouse of UK-funded aid in an airstrike. DFID declined to comment on the latest projects hit.

Since Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched a bombing campaign to oust the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the spring of 2015, the UK has sold an estimated £3.87billion worth of arms to Riyadh.