Evidence of recent Saudi war crime in Yemen

An investigation by Sky News claims to have uncovered evidence of a potential war crime in Yemen committed by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition.

According to a report, an investigative team travelled to a remote northern village, close to the Yemeni-Saudi border where a coalition air strike targeted a family home.

As the first “outsiders” to reach the site at Washah village in the Hajjah province, the team spoke with witnesses and survivors of the attack which killed nine people, including six children. Reportedly, there were no adult men amongst the dead or injured, with only three survivors, a young mother with her baby son and a teenage boy.

The mud and stone home belonging to the Mujali family was reduced to rubble, with a “dusty baby’s bib and small trousers” strewn among the debris.

One eye-witness described a scene of body parts landing on his roof, while others pointed “a leg ended up there. And an arm there”.

The female survivor, Nora Ali Muse’ad Mujali, who was breastfeeding her baby boy at the time the bomb landed said: “I was searching for my daughter [who had been just next to her]. But she was dead. Then I saw my sister-in-law and she was dead too. I just picked up my son and screamed for help.”

According to weapons experts, images taken by neighbours and relatives of the bomb fragments show that they appear to be part of a GBU-12, 500lb fin-guided bomb, manufactured in the US.

A coalition spokesman said they were investigating whether this was an “accidental loss of civilian life” whilst targeting Houthis. The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), the body appointed by the coalition to investigate incidents, said: “Regarding [Washhah] case on 12th July 2020, JIAT is still investigating, all findings will be announced after the end of our investigation.”

The latest incident comes amid renewed criticism of the UK government over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has also been accused by opposition MPs of “turning a blind eye” to war crimes. The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), which has previously been accused of carrying out air strikes on civilian targets including weddings, hospitals and schools, currently receives training at civilian airports in Scotland. According to Scottish-based the Sunday Post, Saudi pilots stationed at RAF Valley and RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire, can use civilian airfields in Scotland during flying lessons where they are allowed to conduct air-to-ground sorties.