By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned a gruesome attack Thursday in northwestern Yemen that killed at least 50 people, most of them children.
Seventy-seven others were injured when a bus carrying children came under attack in Saada province, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
A statement on behalf of Guterres said local health authorities confirmed the casualties, the majority of them children between 10 and 13 years old.
"He [Guterres] expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims," said the statement.
The UN chief called on "all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law", saying they must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects in military operations.
He also called for an independent and prompt investigation into the incident.
The only way to end the Yemen conflict, said Guterres, is "a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue". He urged all parties to de-escalate and to engage constructively in the political process.
Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
In a statement, a Houthi spokesperson blamed the Saudi-led coalition for the attack.
The coalition has yet to comment on the incident.
*Betul Yuruk contributed to this story from New York