Ye­men at­tack blamed on ‘wrong’ de­tails

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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