Human Rights Watch Calls Saudi-Led Airstrike On Yemen Bus An “Apparent War Crime”
Saudis’ attack on a bus full of young boys adds to the coalition's “already gruesome track record of killing civilians at weddings, funerals, hospitals, and schools in Yemen.”

Human Rights Watch on Sunday has called the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrike which hit a Yemeni school bus and killed dozens of people last month an “apparent war crime.”

In the aftermath of the attacking a bus on August 9 in Yemen’s northern Saada province that killed 51 people, including 40 children, HRW asked countries to immediately halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia formerly called the attack a “legitimate military operation carried out in accordance with humanitarian law” and claimed the strike had been based on intelligence indicating that the bus was carrying Houthi leaders.

However, the rights group’s reported that according to witnesses, there were “no armed men in the market or on the bus,” and “videos taken on the bus before the attack do not show any fighters or weapons.”

The HRW’s statement came just hours after the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition on Saturday admitted the wrongdoing in an airstrike and called in “unjustified”.

“the target did not pose an immediate threat and that targeting the bus in a residential area was unjustified at that time”, the coalition spokesman Mansour al-Mansour said.

Read More40 Yemeni Children Buried Side By Side; New Victims Of Saudi Arabia And Its Allies’ Atrocity

“HRW could not confirm the absence of a Houthi military target in the vicinity of the attack,” HRW said, “But even if it were present, the use of a weapon with wide area effects in a crowded market would have been unlawfully indiscriminate or expected to cause disproportionate civilian loss.”

Bill Van Esveld, HRW’s senior children’s rights researcher, said Saudis’ attack on a bus full of young boys, adds to the coalition’s “already gruesome track record of killing civilians at weddings, funerals, hospitals, and schools in Yemen.”

Esveld warned that countries with knowledge of this record that are supplying more bombs to the Saudis “will be complicit in future deadly attacks on civilians.”

At least 51 Yemenis, including 40 children, were killed and 79 others, including 56 children, were injured in the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing the bus which was parked outside a busy market in northern Yemen where the driver had gone to buy water for the children.

A 13-year-old boy who was on the bus during the attack told HRW that he hopes his leg would not be amputated, noting that: “Even if I am able to run and play in the future, I will not find anyone to play with.”

Following the HRW’s statement, the Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, denied that their attack was a “war crime” and told CNN the intelligence information showed that the bus was “not a school bus.”

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