Saudi-led force admits strike in Yemen’s capital hit civilians

Monday, 28 August 2017 00:13 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Riyadh (Reuters): A Saudi-led Arab coalition on Saturday conceded that an air raid in Yemen’s capital a day earlier had resulted in civilian casualties, blaming the incident on an unspecified “technical error”.

3A man carries an injured girl, rescued from the site of a Saudi-led air strike in Sanaa, Yemen August 25, 2017 - REUTERS

The early morning attack in the Faj Attan area of Sanaa hit a vacant building but caused an adjacent apartment block to collapse, killing at least 12 people, six of them children, residents have said.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki defended the strike as having “a legitimate military target”, which he said was a Houthi command and control centre. He accused the fighters of using civilians as human shields.

“A technical error was the reason for the unintentional accident and the house in question was not directly targeted,” he said a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA.

Maliki said the coalition expressed remorse for “collateral damage to civilians” but did not specify the extent of casualties.

However, a senior ICRC official visited the site of the strike on Friday and said, “From what we saw on the ground, there was no apparent military target.”

4Inset: Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, believed to be four or five, sits on a bed at a hospital after she survived a Saudi-led air strike that killed eight of her family members in Sanaa, Yemen August 26, 2017. REUTERS

Yemen’s long war involving competing Yemeni factions and regional power struggles has killed at least 10,000 people. Millions more have been forced to leave their homes and face disease and hunger.