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Yemen funeral attack based on bad information: Saudi-led investigators

Forensic experts investigate the scene at the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa on October 9, 2016. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Sanaa, Yemen Oct 15, 2016, 11.05 AM (IST)

An investigative body set up by the Saudi-led coalition today said it attacked a funeral gathering in Yemen based on “bad information”, Reuters reported. 

 

According to a United Nations estimate, the attack in Sanaa last week killed as many as 140 people. The attack prompted heavy international criticism. 

 

However, the investigation has claimed that the coalition received incorrect information that armed Houthi leaders were in the area.

 

"A party affiliated to the Yemeni Presidency of the general chief of staff wrongly passed information that there was a gathering of armed Houthi leaders (who are the key players in the alliance of rebels) in a known location in Sanaa, and insisted that the location be targeted immediately," the investigators concluded, according to a statement.

 

Sources in the coalition initially denied any role in the funeral attack but Saudi Arabia later promised to investigate the "regrettable and painful" incident.
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The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) said in the statement that the coalition's Air Operations Centre in Yemen also failed to obtain approval for the strike from commanders, a violation of protocol, news agency Reuters reported.

 

The investigation called for families of the victims to be compensated. 

 

Sources in the coalition initially denied any role in the funeral attack but Saudi Arabia later promised to investigate the "regrettable and painful" incident.

 

The JIAT statement said investigators were still assessing whether casualty counts were accurate and that there were reports that the number of victims had been inflated.

 

The United Nations estimates that 10,000 people have been killed in the war and blames coalition airstrikes for 60 per cent of some 3,800 civilian deaths since the attacks began in March 2015.

 

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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