CAIRO — A Saudi-led coalition on Saturday blamed “wrong information” for the bombing last weekend of a packed funeral hall in the rebel-held Yemeni capital that killed at least 140 people and wounded some 600.

The coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team, or JIAT, said a “party” affiliated to Yemen’s General Chief of Staff headquarters had provided intelligence that the hall in Sanaa was filled with leaders of the Shiite Houthi rebels, whom the coalition has been targeting since March 2015, when it intervened in Yemen’s civil war in support of the internationally recognized government.

The unidentified party insisted the site was “a legitimate military target,” the statement said. The Air Operation Center in Yemen then directed a “close air support mission” to target the site without approval from the coalition’s command.

The investigators called on the coalition to review the rules of engagement and recommended that compensation be offered to the victims’ families.

“JIAT has found that 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,” it said.

The coalition, which had initially denied any responsibility, said it accepts the results of the investigation and has started to implement the recommended changes.


The U.S.-backed coalition, which views the Houthis as an Iranian proxy, had come under mounting pressure to investigate the funeral bombing. Human Rights Watch said that the attack constitutes an apparent war crime and that remnants of a U.S.-made bomb were found at the scene.

Along with arms, the United States provides the coalition with logistical support and midair refueling. The White House has said it will immediately review its assistance to the Saudi-led coalition, explaining that such assistance was not a “blank check.”

Over the past year, coalition warplanes have bombed markets, weddings, schools and hospitals, killing hundreds of people and wounding thousands.

The deadly airstrikes on the funeral triggered a wave of counterattacks against U.S. and Saudi targets.

A U.S. Navy destroyer deployed in international waters in the Red Sea came under attack twice in recent days from areas under Houthi control. In response, the U.S. destroyed three radar installations in Houthi-controlled ports on Thursday, in the first direct U.S. involvement in Yemen’s war.

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