Hundreds gather in Yemen to mourn children killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike

Hundreds gather in Yemen to mourn children killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike
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Hundreds of people gathered Monday in Yemen to mourn the 40 children killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike last week, CNN reported.

The mass funeral featured photos of the children’s bloody faces beside their graves, according to the news outlet; there were reportedly signs that blamed the U.S. for the deaths.

Washington has provided the Saudi-led coalition with billions of dollars in arms sales, intelligence sharing and logistics as they fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The conflict began in 2015. 

The boys, who ranged between 6- and 11-years-old, were on their way back from a school field trip when they got caught in the blast that killed 11 others and wounded 79, including 56 children.

“We never expected this to happen,” Abdel-llah Mohammad, the father of a 7-year-old boy killed in the blast, told CNN. “He walked out of the door with white clothes. He put on perfume and combed his hair before he left; he didn’t need to — he was a handsome boy. He did not know what was coming for him.” 

Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House does damage control after Mulvaney remarks Mattis responds to Trump criticism: 'I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals' MORE said Sunday that he was sending a general to help investigate what happened and backed the State Department’s call for the Saudi-led coalition to look into the strike.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki told CNN that the airstrike was aimed at a “legitimate target.”

CNN footage showed some of the boys laughing and playing just hours before they were killed. 

The boys’ teacher, Yahya Hussein, was parking his car a little ways away from the bus when the airstrike hit.

“I heard a loud explosion and there was dust and smoke everywhere," he said. "The scene can't be described — there was body parts and blood everywhere." 

One of the first medics on the scene was a father of one of the victims, Hussein Hussein Tayeb, according to a Houthi TV network.

“As soon as I arrived with others wanting to help out, we figured we had to quickly nurse the wounded because there was chaos,” Hussein told the network, according to CNN. “As I was nursing people, I lifted a body and found that it was Ahmed's face. I carried him and hugged him — he was my son.