‘WRONG’ INTEL TO BLAME FOR SANAA STRIKE
Yemen attack blamed on ‘wrong’ details
The Saudi-led coalition has blamed “wrong information” for the bombing last weekend of a packed funeral hall in the rebel-held Yemeni capital that killed at least 140 people and wounded some 600.
The coalition's Joint Incidents Assessment Team, or JIAT, said that a “party” affiliated to Yemen’s General Chief of Staff headquarters had provided intelligence that the hall in Sanaa was filled with leaders of the Houthi rebels, whom the coalition has been targeting since March 2015, when it intervened in Yemen’s civil war in support of the internationally recognised government.
The unidentified party insisted the site was “a legitimate military target”, the JIAT statement said. The Air Operation Centre in Yemen, it added, directed a “close air support mission” to target the site without approval from the coalition’s command.
The investigators called on the coalition to immediately review the rules of engagement and recommended that compensation be offered to the victims' families.
“JIAT has found that because of non-compliance with Coalition rules of engagement and procedures, and the issuing of incorrect information, a Coalition aircraft wrongly targeted the location, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries,” it said.
The Saudi-led coalition, which had initially denied any responsibility, said it accepts the results of the investigation and has started to implement the recommended changes.
“The coalition command expresses its regret at this unintentional incident and the ensuing pain for victims’ families,” it said in a statement.
The Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has yet to publicly comment on the October 8 bombing.
The coalition has come under mounting pressure to investigate the bombing. Human Rights Watch said in a report that the bombing constitutes an apparent war crime and said remnants of a US-made bomb were found at the site of the strike.
‘The coalition command expresses its regret at this unintentional incident.’ – Coalition statement
DESTROYED: Members of the Higher Council for Civilian Community Organisation inspect the site