SANAA, Yemen — Thousands of Yemenis marched in the capital Sanaa on Sunday to protest an airstrike a day earlier by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite Houthi rebels, one of the deadliest single attacks in the impoverished Arab country’s relentless civil war.

The airstrike, which hit a funeral hall packed with hundreds of mourners, killed over 140 people. It was the latest in a string of bombings by the coalition that have struck hospitals, markets and other places where civilians congregate, in an effort to stamp out a rebel alliance battling the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The casualty toll, given by a U.N. official, also mentioned more than 525 wounded. The rebel-controlled Health Ministry gave a lower figure, saying that 115 bodies had been counted but that the number will likely rise because “charred remains” were still being identified. Of the 600 wounded it tallied, it said many cases were serious and at least 300 people needed treatment abroad.

Inside a hospital treating the wounded, survivors spoke of successive airstrikes during the funeral service.

“The strike hit the door, and the second fell nearly on top of us, and then the whole structure fell,” said Hasaan Nagi, who lost a leg. “I was injured in the first hit, and of course I was praying to God and then a part of the metal roof started to fall on me.”

At the demonstration outside the U.N. building in southern Sanaa, some blamed the organization for not ending the conflict and urged an independent investigation. Others brandished automatic weapons, while rebel supporters in the crowd called on people from the region to rise up and attack Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi military announced early Sunday it would launch an investigation into “reports about the regrettable and painful bombing” in Sanaa, without acknowledging that its coalition battling rebels in Yemen is the only force with air power in the conflict.


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