LONDON: A leading international medical charity has condemned a rocket attack that killed a Yemeni football coach and his 10 year-old son.
Former professional Nasser Al-Raimy, 53, was holding a training session on Saturday morning at the stadium of Al-Ahly in Taiz when he was killed along with his son, Imran.
The government blamed the Houthi militia for the attack, which also injured two other children as they took part in training.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it was shocking that civilian locations continued to come under fire.
“Al Ahly Football Club is a well-known civilian location away from the front lines, but it’s also located across the road from MSF Supported Yemeni-Swedish Children Hospital & Al Amal Cancer Hospital,” the charity said. “This isn’t the first time that residents of this area witness such acts of violence.”
“All parties of the conflict have a responsibility to ensure civilians and civilian infrastructure, are respected and protected.”
Taiz city has been a flashpoint during the Yemen conflict with the Iran-backed Houthis previously accused of blockading the city and repeatedly blamed for shelling civilian areas.
A resident of the city, described as a football player, told MSF: “Sport facilities are maybe one of the only places left to give civilians in Taiz, especially children, moments of happiness in such a hard time, but seems not any more.
“I see this unacceptable act of violence deprives civilians from one of the things left to make them still feel that they are humans and we deserve to enjoy life despite what is happening in our city.
“This incident will stay forever in my memory whenever I play football again.”
Tributes were paid to Al-Raimy from Yemen’s internationally recogized government and sports bodies.
He played at Al-Taleea, starting out at the club in 1988 and becoming captain in 1995.
The Houthi militia sparked the war in Yemen when it seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and made a failed attempt to capture the rest of the country.
The militia controls the north-west of Yemen with the internationally-recognized government, backed by an Arab military coalition, in charge of the south.