Coalition strike on Yemen funeral based on bad info – Saudi-led investigators’ statement

A Saudi-led coalition attacked a funeral in Yemen after receiving incorrect information that armed Houthi leaders allegedly were in the area, an investigative body set up by the coalition has concluded.

The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) said that coalition air operations officials did not receive an approval for the strike from their commanders, a violation of protocol, according to the statement carried by state news agency SPA, Reuters reported.

The JIAT has called for a review of rules of engagement, and compensation for the victims’ families.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes following an airstrike on a funeral in Yemen, which left at least 110 dead and over 600 wounded. The watchdog also lambasted the US and the UK for supplying weapons to the Saudis.

On October 8, at least two air-dropped munitions penetrated the roof of a hall containing over 1,000 mourners, killing at least 110 people and wounding 610 during the funeral ceremony of Ali al-Rawishan, the father of the Sana’a-based administration’s interior minister, Jalal al-Rawishan.
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A Yemeni inspects the rubble of a destroyed building following an air strike on a funeral ceremony in the capital Sanaa on October 8, 2016. © Mohammed Huwais ‘Apparent war crime’: HRW blasts Saudi carnage at Yemen funeral, slams US & UK arms supplies

Rare probes into Saudi-led strikes on civilian targets in Yemen have always resulted in “similar conclusions, basically that it was a mistake and this won’t happen again,” security analyst and former UK army officer Charles Shoebridge told RT.

The Saudi campaign, to this day, relies extensively on US and UK military aid, and arms supplies, despite all the atrocities and a “great deal of questions raised in some parts of the US and UK media,” Shoebridge added.

“Let’s not forget in this conflict that these weapons, these bombs – as … confirmed by finding … what seems to be the remains of the Paveway guided bomb – [were] supplied and made by the US in this case at the scene of the funeral attack. It makes clear, that this campaign by the Saudis is almost entirely dependent upon British and American manufactured munitions, which continue to be supplied to this day, British and American assistance in refueling facilities, in intelligence gathering and logistics and even in the control rooms coordinating the targeting,” Shoebridge said, adding that the funeral strike became a “PR disaster for the UK and the US.”

Washington meanwhile reserves the right to strike targets in Yemen whenever “necessary and appropriate,” President Obama told Congress after the US military carried out its first direct attack in the bloody conflict, using the pretext of self-defense.

USS Nitze launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in Yemen in retaliation for alleged attacks on the US Navy earlier this week, for the first time since the 18-month-old conflict began. On Friday, US President Barack Obama informed Congress about authorizing the strikes “in response to anti-ship cruise missile launches perpetrated by Houthi insurgents.”

In his “War Powers Resolution” letter, Obama stated that US Armed Forces targeted radar facilities, which the US believes had been involved in “the October 9 launches and other recent attacks.”