Local Official Says US-Built Apache Helicopter Behind Massacre of Refugees

Bodies of Somali migrants killed in attack by a helicopter while traveling in a boat off the coast of Yemen lie on the ground at Hodeida Yemen Friday Mar. 17 2017. A helicopter gunship attacked a boat packed with

Thirty-one Somali refugees were reportedly killed off the coast of Yemen late on Thursday when a helicopter attacked the boat they were travelling in, a coastguard in the Houthi-controlled Hudaydah area has said.

Numerous wounded lost arms and legs in the strike, the Yemeni medical official told AP on condition of anonymity. "These nations must pay what they owe", Trump said at a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The bodies of 33 refugees were taken to hospitals in the western port city, a health official there said, adding that 35 wounded had also been admitted.

A local coast guard official from the Houthi-rebel controlled coast of Yemen told Reuters an Apache helicopter attacked the boat, though it remains unclear who is responsible for the attack.

It was not immediately clear who had carried out the attack.

The boat, filled with refugees attempting to flee war-torn Yemen including women and children, had made it about 30 miles offshore when a helicopter swooped in and opened fire. The Saudis have used USA -made Apache helicopters to carry out some of those missions.

About 80 survivors were rescued and taken to hospital, according to the IOM.

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Yemen has been suffering from a civil war and a Saudi-led military intervention for around two years.

UNHCR officials said the people in the boat may have been heading towards Sudan or other countries to the north to escape deteriorating conditions in Yemen.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen's Saudi-backed government.

He said Hodeidah remained under the control of the Houthis and the port continued to be used for "trafficking people, smuggling weapons and attacks against the line of communications in the Red Sea".

The US has been waging its own war in southeastern Yemen since 2009, launching drone strikes against targets and individuals purportedly affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International stated earlier this week that Washington's arming of the coalition could implicate the United States in war crimes and result in even more civilian deaths.