Saudi-led Coalition Admits 'Mistakes' In Yemen Airstrike That Killed 40 Children


The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition expressed regret over the mistakes, extended its sympathies, condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims, and announced its acceptance of the results and findings of the JIAT.

While the Pentagon and much of the corporate media bought at face value the Saudi-led coalition's statement expressing "regret" over the school bus bombing last month that killed 40 children, Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher noted that "if you look at the actual wording [of the statement]... they are not saying that there was a problem with killing children".

The military coalition is battling the rebels to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted from the capital by rebels in 2015.

The coalition said in its statement Saturday that "it will take all the legal measures to hold accountable those who were proven to have committed mistakes" once it officially receives the findings.

Fifty-six children were also among the 79 people wounded in the August 9 strike on Saada province, a stronghold of the Iran-backed Houthis bordering Saudi Arabia.

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The rare admission comes a week after Human Rights Watch released a report slamming the JIAT for being little more than a Saudi tool to cover up war crimes in Yemen. It will also coordinate with the Yemen government to compensate victims.

The US State Department welcomed on Sunday the Saudi-led coalition's announcement as "an important first step toward full transparency and accountability". It also was an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia's regional foe Iran, which the coalition has accused of arming the Houthis.

Airstrikes have also destroyed hospitals and water facilities, and been blamed for cholera outbreaks that have killed over 2,000.

The attack drew condemnation from the United Nations, following which U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that continued U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen would depend on efforts to mitigate civilian casualties. The UN says the conflict has become the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people in desperate need in what is already the Arab world's poorest country.