Amnesty: US-made weapon used in air strike that killed scores in escalation of Saudi-led coalition attacks


The Saudi-led coalition used a precision-guided munition made in the United States in last week’s air strike on a detention centre in Sa’adah, north-western Yemen, which, according to Doctors without Borders, killed at least 80 people and injured over 200, Amnesty International said today. The laser-guided bomb used in the attack, manufactured by US defence company Raytheon, is the latest piece in a wider web of evidence of the use of US-manufactured weapons in incidents that could amount to war crimes.

Over the past week, the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) has relentlessly pounded northern Yemen with air strikes — including the capital city, Sana’a — that have inflicted dozens of civilian casualties and destroyed infrastructure and services. The escalation followed Huthi strikes on 17 January that targeted an oil facility in Abu Dhabi, which killed three civilians.

“Horrific images that have trickled out of Yemen despite the four-day internet blackout are a jarring reminder of who is paying the terrible price for Western states’ lucrative arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The USA and other arms-supplying states must immediately halt transfers of arms, equipment, and military assistance to all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen. The international community has a responsibility to close the gates to all arms sales that are fueling the needless suffering of civilians in the armed conflict.

“By knowingly supplying the means by which the SLC has repeatedly violated international human rights and humanitarian law, the USA — along with the UK and France — share responsibility for these violations.”

Amnesty International’s arms experts analysed photos of the remnants of the weapon used in the attack on the detention centre and identified the bomb as a GBU-12, a 500lb laser-guided bomb manufactured by Raytheon.

Since March 2015, Amnesty International’s researchers have investigated dozens of air strikes and repeatedly found and identified remnants of US-manufactured munitions. Amnesty International previously identified the use of the same US-made Raytheon bombs used on 21 January in a Saudi-led air strike carried out on 28 June 2019 on a residential home in Ta’iz governorate, Yemen, that killed six civilians — including three children.

Source: Amnesty