Saudi-led coalition says deadly strike on bus in Yemen was unjustified

Saudi-led coalition says deadly strike on bus in Yemen was unjustified
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A Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said Saturday that an air attack that killed dozens of people, mainly children, traveling on a bus was unjustified, Reuters reported.

The coalition also vowed to deal with those who contributed to the attack.

“There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing (the opportunity) to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage,” Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour told reporters, according to Reuters. Ahmed al-Mansour is the legal adviser for the Joint Incident Assessment Team, which investigated the incident at the coalition's direction.

“The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance,” he continued.


The coalition also said it would work with the Yemeni government to compensate the families of the victims and reaffirmed its commitment to international humanitarian law, the outlet noted.

In a statement, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the move was "an important first step toward full transparency and accountability.‎"

"The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition's ‎announcement that it will review their rules of engagement, hold those at fault accountable, and compensate victims following the Joint Incident Assessment Team's finding that last month's Sa'ada air strikes lacked justification as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability," Nauert wrote, following the admission.

"We continue to call on all sides to abide by the Law of Armed Conflict, to mitigate harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure, and thoroughly investigate and ensure accountability for any violations," she added. "It is imperative that all parties work toward a comprehensive political solution to avoid further harm to the Yemeni people."

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White expressed the Department of Defense’s appreciation for the coalition’s decision and the Joint Incident Assessment Team’s findings in a series of tweets Saturday.

The bomb used in the strike was reportedly manufactured and supplied by the U.S., which is a member of the Saudi-led coalition.

The U.S. military has been a strong supporter of an investigation into the event.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisAllies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Trump nominates ambassador to Turkey MORE urged the Saudi government to investigate the strike earlier this month and said he would send his own general to probe the bombing.

The coalition’s admission comes amid growing international pressure to limit civilian casualties as the country's civil war continues into its fourth year, Reuters noted.

Middle east expert Katherine Zimmerman called the crisis in Yemen the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world earlier this month.