A Saudi F-15 fighter jet lands at the Khamis Mushayt military airbase. AFP photo
RIYADH (AFP) – The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemeni rebels said Saturday that one of its warplanes had “wrongly targeted” a funeral in the capital Sanaa that killed more than 140 people, and announced disciplinary proceedings.”Because of non-compliance with coalition rules of engagement and procedures, and the issuing of incorrect information, a coalition aircraft wrongly targeted the location, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries,” an inquiry team found.
“Appropriate action… must be taken against those who caused the incident, and… compensation must be offered to the families of the victims.”
The October 8 strike prompted an international outcry and strong criticism even from Saudi Arabia’s closest Western allies.
Credit: The Associated Press
Medics search for bodies under the rubble of a funeral hall that was targeted by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. Yemeni security and medical officials say at least 45 people have been killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that targeted a funeral hall in the capital, Sanaa. The officials say at least another 100 have been wounded in the Saturday strike. (AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrhman)
Thousands march in Yemen after over 140 killed in airstrike
By Ahmed Al-haj
Published: Oct. 9, 2016 1:00 p.m.
SANAA, Yemen — Thousands of Yemenis marched in the capital Sanaa on Sunday to protest an airstrike a day earlier by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite Houthi rebels, one of the deadliest single attacks in the impoverished Arab country’s relentless civil war.
The airstrike, which hit a funeral hall packed with hundreds of mourners, killed over 140 people. It was the latest in a string of bombings by the coalition that have struck hospitals, markets and other places where civilians congregate, in an effort to stamp out a rebel alliance battling the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
The casualty toll, given by a U.N. official, also mentioned more than 525 wounded. The rebel-controlled Health Ministry gave a lower figure, saying that 115 bodies had been counted but that the number will likely rise because “charred remains” were still being identified. Of the 600 wounded it tallied, it said many cases were serious and at least 300 people needed treatment abroad.
Inside a hospital treating the wounded, survivors spoke of successive airstrikes during the funeral service, which was held for the father of an official from the rebel government controlling the capital.
“The strike hit the door, and the second fell nearly on top of us, and then the whole structure fell,” said Hasaan Nagi, who lost a leg. “I was injured in the first hit, and of course I was praying to God and then a part of the metal roof started to fall on me.”
At the demonstration outside the U.N. building in southern Sanaa, some blamed the organization for not ending the conflict and urged an independent investigation. Others brandished automatic weapons, while rebel supporters in the crowd called on people from the region to rise up and attack Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi military announced early Sunday it would launch an investigation into “reports about the regrettable and painful bombing” in Sanaa, without acknowledging that its coalition battling rebels in Yemen is the only force with air power in the conflict.
“The place has been turned into a lake of blood,” said one rescuer, Murad Tawfiq.
Yemeni officials said the dead and wounded included military and security officials from the ranks of the Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies, loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Houthi leader Abdul-Malek al-Houthi decried the attacks in a televised address, saying that they had been done with U.S. weapons and with a “green light” from Washington. Saleh also took to state TV to call on citizens to head to the Saudi border and attack soldiers there to avenge the deaths.
Attack may push U.S. to reconsider support of Saudi Arabia-led air war in Yemen
A forensic expert investigates the scene at a community hall Oct. 10, 2016, two days after an attack many blame on Saudi-led airstrikes, in Sana, Yemen, October 2016. (Yahya Arhab / European Pressphoto Agency)
Tags: Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, civilian deaths, deadliest single attack in Yemen, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister, Houthi, human rights council, incorrect information, Iran, non-compliance with coalition rules of engagement, Saudi Arabia, Shi'ite Houthi rebels, thousands of Yemenis march in protest, U. S., U.N., U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Security Council, U.S.-backed Saudi coalition, UNICEF, wrongly targeted a funeral in Sanaa that killed more than 140 people, Yemen