Saturday, October 15, 2016

Inquiry: Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen funeral was based on false information

The Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a funeral congregation that killed 140 in Yemen's rebel-held capital on Oct. 8 was based on false information, an investigation team said Saturday.

In a statement published by the official Saudi news agency SPA, the joint incidents assessment team inquiry concluded that bad information had been passed on to the Arab military coalition by a Yemeni official loyal to ousted president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

"A party affiliated to the Yemeni Presidency of the General Chief of Staff wrongly passed information that there was a gathering of armed Houthi leaders in a known location in Sana'a," the statement said.

The inquiry also blamed non-compliance with coalition's rules of engagement for the erroneous bombing, adding that the military operations center in Yemen did not obtain approval from command before ordering the attack.

Doing this meant the command center was not able to legitimize the information and ensure that the target provided was indeed military and not civilian.

The inquiry statement recommended that appropriate action be taken against those involved in the attack and said the Arab military coalition must "immediately review their rules of engagement (ROEs) and update their procedures to ensure adherence in future."

The airstrike in question targeted the funeral of the former interior minister for the pro-Houthi government based in Sana'a.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch condemned the aerial bombardment and called for it to be investigated as a war crime.

Yemen's civil conflict broke out in 2014 when the Shiite Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sana'a, forcing the Yemeni government to relocate to the southern city of Aden.

The war escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition intervened in favor of the ousted, internationally recognized President Hadi, who had since fled to Riyadh.

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