U.S.-made bomb killed civilians in Yemen, human rights group says

Human rights group Amnesty International said Thursday a strike that killed several civilians in Yemen earlier this summer used a precision-guided bomb made by a U.S. military contractor.

Yemeni forces patrol in the port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, on January 4. A report Thursday by Amnesty International condemned the Saudi-led coalition for an airstrike that killed several civilians, including three children. File Photo by Najeeb Almahboobi

Six civilians died in June when the ordnance hit near their home in the Ta’iz governorate, including three children, Amnesty said in a report Thursday.

The weapon was fired by the Saudi-led coalition during a June 28 airstrike, the report said, and the laser-guided bomb was made by defense contractor Raytheon.

Amnesty said the children were 12, 9 and 6 years old.

“It is unfathomable and unconscionable that the U.S. continues to feed the conveyor belt of arms flowing into Yemen’s devastating conflict,” Rasha Mohamed, a Yemen specialist at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

Thousands of civilians have died in Yemen since civil war began in 2015 with the overthrow of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi by Iran-supported Houthi militants. The rebels have fought Yemeni government forces that are backed by the Saudi-led coalition and supported by the United States.

The Amnesty report said there were no Houthi fighters near the home that was destroyed in June and the location hadn’t been used by insurgents in two years.

The U.S. military has provided support to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the conflict, and Amnesty said its weapons have been used for war crimes.

“Despite the slew of evidence that the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition has time and again committed serious violations of international law, including possible war crimes, the USA and other arms-supplying countries … remain unmoved by the pain and chaos their arms are wreaking on the civilian population,” Mohamed said.

The Saudi coalition stepped up attacks in Yemen last week by targeting factories in the port city of Hudaydah. It said factories there were being used as a Houthi base.

ByClyde Hughes