Joint Incidents Assessment Team on Yemen issues statement

RIYADH, 6th December, 2016 (WAM)--The official media spokesman of Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), Legal Adviser Mansour Ahmad Al-Mansour, legal adviser, said the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) verified facts and circumstances of the incidents in Yemen based on confirmed intelligence about existence of a gathering of Houthi armed leaders in the north of the city of Abs.

"The coalition forces targeted the location of that gathering. As a result, the air crew monitored a moving vehicle from the same targeted site heading southwards, pursued and shelled it immediately. The vehicle was next to the building which had no signs of a hospital before the bombing. Later, it was proved that it was Abs Hospital," he explained.

The remarks follow the report issued by Doctors Without Borders on its official website over the alleged bombing carried out by the coalition forces on Abs Hospital in the Yemeni city of Abs in the province of Hjjah on 15/08/2016, which resulted in killing of seven people and injuring of 13 others, At a press conference held on Tuesday at King Salman Airbase for Middle Sector, Al-Mansour said, "In light of facts regarding the incident, the team found that damages of the originally-untargeted building were due to targeting of the vehicle, a legitimate military target, which was next to the building, disclosing that the joint team confirmed that the coalition forces are to apologise for the unintentional error, provide appropriate assistance to those affected, and launch investigation with the persons in charge of the incident to look into whether they have violated the accredited rules of engagement and take appropriate action as regards the incident."

Refuting allegations by the Amnesty International that Asmaa school, located in the city of Al-Mansouriya in the Yemeni province of Al-Hodeida, was shelled on August 24, 2015, the spokesman said that the coalition forces have targeted the above-mentioned site based on surveillance information that the armed Houthi militias and forces loyal to former president were using the site as a headquarters, storage and logistics post for weapons smuggled via Al-Hodeida port, classifying it as a militarily legal target of high value that achieves certified military advantage.

Accordingly, and based on the rules of the international humanitarian law, he continued, the legal protection supposed to be enjoyed by civilian sites is dropped off this site due to its being used as a tool within the military effort, taking into consideration that the classes of the school have gone at the time on an open vacation in view of the surrounding circumstances in addition to that investigations have not revealed the occurrence of any human losses or injuries, with the building sustaining partial damage estimated at no more than 25%. T "The joint assessment team has, accordingly, reached the result that the procedures followed by the Coalition Forces targeting the questionable site were intact and correct," he added.

With regard to the allegation by the Sweden Embassy that a food factory owned by Abdullah Ahmad Al-Agel, Honorary Swedish Consul, in Sana'a was raided on August 09,2016, which resulted in killing 16 workers, the spokesman said that JIAT investigated circumstances of the incident, and found out that the coalition forces bombed two sites on the same day, the first is an antennae connection used for military purposes in the (Ayban Mount) located west of Sana'a, and distanced 7 km away from the mentioned factory, the second is: a cave (Eastern Altahedan Mount) located south of Sana'a, used for military purposes, and distanced 10 km away from the factory.

Al Mansour noted that the two above-mentioned sites were military targets, in accordance to the rules of engagement and international humanitarian law, explaining that the JIAT did not find a proof that the coalition forces bombed the mentioned plant, and therefore there is no proof to the allegation of Swedish Embassy.

Refuting allegations by the Amnesty International that cattle market at Fayyoh village in Lahaj province that the coalition forces shelling on July 06, 2015, resulted in killing 40 people and injuring dozens, the spokesman confirmed that the JIAT has investigated the incident, and found out that the mentioned market was not bombed, and that the coalition forces bombed two sites on the same referred date, the first is: gathering of militia armed Houthi, distanced 7 km northwest away from the market, and the second is: a command building of the militia of al-Houthi, distanced 10 km north away from the market, noting that the above-mentioned sites are military goals, in accordance to the rules of engagement and international humanitarian law.

JIAT found that the cattle market was not bombed by coalition forces, and was not affected by the accidental bombing of targets in the region, he added.

SPA


WAM/Majok