Saudi Arabia has admitted that its military has used cluster bombs in the aggression against Yemen.
The spokesman for the Saudi military said Tuesday that Riyadh had used cluster bombs in an airstrike on the northwestern areas of Yemen.
Ahmad al-Asiri claimed however that the military used cluster bombs just once in Hajjah Province to attack cars belonging to Yemeni fighters. The attack was carried out nearly nine months ago, when the Riyadh regime began the campaign, the military official said.
The news comes against the backdrop of a growing body of evidence on the use of cluster bombs by Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations and other international organizations say investigators have found remnants of such bombs in Hajjah and around the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.
The UN human rights office said in early January that it had received reports that Saudi forces used cluster bombs in Hajjah, adding that a UN team found remnants of 29 cluster submunitions in the village of al-Odair. Local sources in Hajjah also confirmed the repeated use of the bombs in attacks against villages, saying the airstrikes had caused significant loss of life among the civilians.
On January 8, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s intensifying airstrikes against civilians. He said, if proved, Riyadh’s use of cluster bombs in the capital, Sana’a, may amount to a “war crime.”
Reports have emerged over the past days showing that Saudi warplanes have repeatedly pounded with cluster bombs the positions of the Houthi Ansarullah movement and its supporters in Sana’a.
The Saudi aggression began on March 26, 2015 and in a bid to undermine Ansarullah and restore power to the fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
Ansarullah and volunteer fighters have also hit back by targeting the Saudi military positions in southern Saudi territories. On Tuesday, at least two Saudi soldiers were killed in a rocket attack launched on several Saudi bases in Jizan Province, according to Manbar al-Yemen, a pro-Houthi website. Attacks were also reported on bases in the neighboring Najran Province, without immediate reports available on potential casualties.
Also on Tuesday, Yemen’s al-Masirah reported that over a dozen people, including five women and four children, were killed in a Saudi airstrike on Sana’a.