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Thu 2 Apr 2015 09:56 AM

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Yemen war is having an "alarming" impact on civilians, says EU

European Union condemned attacks on hospitals, schools and homes and called on both sides to "avoid the direct targeting of civilian infrastructure"

Yemen war is having an "alarming" impact on civilians, says EU

The war in Yemen is having an alarming impact on civilians, the European Union said on Wednesday, condemning attacks on hospitals, schools and homes.

For the past week, a Saudi-led coalition has bombed Shi'ite Houthis and allied army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh fighting Sunni Muslim tribesmen allied with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Dozens have been killed.

The effect, particularly on children, was "reaching alarming proportions and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation", EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and humanitarian aid commissioner Christos Stylianides said.

"The attacks on hospitals and medical facilities by warring factions as well as the deliberate targeting and destruction of private homes, education facilities and basic infrastructure cannot be tolerated," they said in a statement.

"We call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and avoid the direct targeting of civilian infrastructure."

Mogherini and Stylianides urged all sides to give unrestricted access to humanitarian aid workers and said the EU would continue to support all efforts to bring the Yemeni parties back to the negotiating table.

The International Committee of the Red Cross complained on Tuesday that members of the Saudi-led coalition were preventing a Red Cross plane from delivering medical supplies.

An explosion at a dairy in Yemen's Hodaida port killed at least 25 workers, medical sources said, with conflicting accounts attributing the blast to an air strike by the Saudi-led alliance or to a rocket landing from a nearby army base.

The incident appeared to be one of the biggest cases of civilian deaths since the Saudi-led air campaign began.

An air strike killed at least 40 people at the Mazraq camp for displaced people in north Yemen on Monday, aid workers said.