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Saudi-led coalition 'used cluster bombs in Yemen'

The Saudi-led coalition has repeatedly used cluster bombs said HRW [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 8 January, 2016

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Internationally banned cluster bombs were dropped on the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday.

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen dropped internationally prohibited cluster bombs on Sanaa, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday.

The bombs were reportedly dropped over residential neighbourhoods in the Yemeni capital early on 6 January, however it is unclear if they resulted in civilian casualties, according to to HRW.

"The coalition's repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime," said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch.

"These outrageous attacks show that the coalition seems less concerned than ever about sparing civilians from war's horrors."

Residents from three separate Sanaa neighbourhoods reported being woken up in the early hours of Wednesday morning by the sound of dozens of small explosions consistent with cluster bombs, said the rights group.

"Human Rights Watch viewed photographs taken on January 6 in Sanaa that showed unmistakable remnants of cluster munitions, including unexploded submunitions," said the group's statement.

The Saudi-led coalition launched a campaign against Houthi rebels and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh in March 2015 after they advanced on the southern city of Aden, where Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had taken refuge before fleeing to Riyadh.

The rebels continue to control the capital, which they overran in 2014, but loyalists have recently captured areas east and northeast of the capital.

On Wednesday, coalition warplanes bombed various positions in Sanaa, including the presidential complex, witnesses said. Riyadh denied hitting Iran's embassy in the Yemeni capital, saying it remained undamaged.

At least 2,795 civilians have been killed and 5,324 wounded in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in March, according to the UN.

Efforts to broker a ceasefire and halt the confrontations have been consistently hampered by repeat ceasefire violations.

A recent ceasefire declared in December was short-lived as fighting between the warring factions continued.

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