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.
Read Also: Saudi Arabia's king postpones visit to Maldives over swine flu The ICRC's Eric Christopher Wyss, quoting survivors at the scene, said many people on the boat "were refugees from Somalia or Yemen, fleeing the conflict".
The spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency in Yemen, Shabia Mantoo, confirmed that refugees were killed, but did not cite any specific casualty count.
It is believed at least 80 refugees had been rescued after the incident, which occurred near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait late on Thursday (16 March).
It is not immediately clear who carried out the attack.
The rebel-controlled Saba agency accused the Saudi-led coalition battling the insurgents of attacking the refugees from the air but did not provide further details.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed "dozens of deaths and many dozens of survivors brought to hospitals".
The war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 civilians and pushed the Arab world's poorest nation to the brink of starvation.
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Check flight status before heading to airport
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