Saudi-led coalition’s committee admits “unintended bombings”

SANAA, Yemen: The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Shiite rebels announced Friday that the coalition has committed “unintended bombings” and blamed U.N. agencies for not coordinating with the coalition, causing civilian casualties, according to the Saudi official news agency.

Spokesman Mohammed al-Mansour, in comments published Friday by the Saudi Press Agency, chronicled eight incidents which rights groups said killed hundreds of civilians.

Among them was a deadly incident in Mokha where 65 civilians, including 10 children, were killed. Al-Mansour said that the victims died as a result of “unintended bombing based on inaccurate intelligence information.” He recommended that compensation be paid to the victims’ families.

Regarding a second incident in which food trucks managed by the World Food Program were bombed last November, al-Mansour said the agency is to blame for not notifying the coalition.

The Saudi investigative committee’s conclusions varied in regards to multiple incidents where hospitals and medical facilities affiliated with the relief agency Doctors Without Borders were targeted. In one incident in January, the committee said that the coalition should have notified the agency before warplanes targeted rebels in Saada. In a second incident a month later, the committee said that the relief agency should not have placed their mobile clinic near a grouping of rebels in the western city of Taiz.

“It is necessary to keep the mobile clinic away from military targets so as not to be subjected to any incidental effects,” al-Mansour said.

Overall, the committee concluded that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians and therefore no violation of international laws. The coalition’s investigative committee, according to SPA, is independent and composed of representatives from six countries, all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council — the core group of the coalition— in addition to a Yemeni representative.

Since March 2015, the war in Yemen has pitted the country’s Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, against the internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition. The conflict has left a security vacuum throughout parts of the country. Both al-Qaida and its rival militant group, the Islamic State group, have exploited the turmoil and expanded their footprint in the country’s southern region.

Rights groups and U.N. agencies say that more than 9000 people have been killed during the conflict, which pushed the Arab world’s poorest nation to the brink of famine