Death toll in Yemen boat attack hits 42

Russian humanitarian aid arrives in Yemen

An attack helicopter targeted a boat carrying Somali refugees off the coast of Yemen, killing at least 31 people holding U.N.travel documents, worldwide migration officials said Friday.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it was "deeply distressed" by the casualties and called for all parties in the Yemeni civil war to protect civilians in accordance with global law.

According to the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, the Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of 10,000 Yemenis and left 40,000 others wounded.

Abdiker said survivors gave "conflicting messages" about whether the attack came from a military vessel or an attack helicopter that had taken off from the vessel.

A Yemeni police officer stands near the bodies of Somali refugee, killed in attack by a helicopter while traveling in a vessel off Yemen, at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen on March 17, 2017.

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Yemen's Houthi rebels reported shooting down a Saudi Apache helicopter in Hodeideh province on Thursday.

The government, which is heavily backed by a Saudi-led coalition, is battling the Houthis and military units loyal to a former president.

UNHCR continues to urge all parties to the conflict in Yemen do their utmost to protect civilians. Children were reported to be among the dead.

The medical official said the bodies of the dead were being retrieved from the sea and taken to the morgue of a hospital in al-Thawra.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed "dozens of deaths and many dozens of survivors brought to hospitals".

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The port is now controlled by Houthi rebels who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's war, which has been ongoing for the last two years. SABA didn't say who carried out the strike.

Mantoo said that refugees and asylum seekers were moving out of Yemen and heading north because of deteriorating conditions.

A sailor who had been operating the boat, Ibrahim Ali Zeyad, said 80 refugees had been rescued after the incident.

In a letter to US President Donald Trump, Amnesty International said the arms sales would only serve to further arm the Saudi-led coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen in violation of international law.

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