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Doctors Without Borders Says Facility In Yemen Destroyed By Airstrikes

Doctors Without Borders says one of their small medical facilities in Saada, Yemen, was hit by an airstrike Monday night.

On Twitter, the organization said patients and staff were inside the facility when it was attacked, but the aid group's chief, Hassan Boucenine, told The Associated Press that no one was inside at the time.

Boucenine said that the facility's empty administrative building was hit first at around 11 p.m. local time Monday. The main building, which was nearby, was evacuated and then that building was hit by an airstrike about 10 minutes after the first strike.

The New York Times reports:

"The Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting Houthi rebels, has bombed several health facilities during the seven-month war, but the airstrikes appeared to be the first time coalition warplanes had directly struck a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders.

"Hassan Boucenine, the group's head of mission in Yemen, said that the health center was hit by at least two airstrikes around 11 p.m. Monday, and that it had 'collapsed.' Doctors Without Borders is one of the few international organizations operating extensively throughout Yemen."

Of course, this is the second Doctors Without Borders facility to be hit in a month. Earlier this month, U.S. airstrikes targeted a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing at least 30 people.

Over the weekend, the organization, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said there are still two patients and one staff member unaccounted for. The organization has been calling for an independent investigation into the U.S. attack.

Yesterday, the AP reported that American analysts knew the site of the attack in Afghanistan was a hospital but they "believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity."

The U.S. has ordered an investigation into that attack, which Gen. John Campbell has called a mistake.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.