A bomb that decimated entire households packed with women and children in Yemen this August was made by the United States, investigators at Amnesty International said Thursday. The explosion killed 16 civilians, five of them children, and injured 17 more in Sana’a, the country’s capital.
Amnesty International announced the discovery Thursday, after identifying one of the bomb parts as part of a “US-made MAU -169L/B computer control group,” that is commonly used in laser-guided air-dropped bombs. The United States authorized a sale of weapons that included those parts in 2015, according to a report at the time by DefenseNews.
Though it’s not the first time U.S.-made weapons have been directly linked to the Saudi-led coalition’s costly airstrikes, it’s among the most significant because of the high-profile nature of the attack, Raed Jarrar, the director of the Middle East and North Africa division in the U.S. for Amnesty International told VICE News.
“The Arab world watched that interview with Buthaina,” said Jarrar, referring to a five-year-old girl whose brothers and sisters were all killed in the bombing. “The fact that this story is now being linked to a U.S.-made bomb is very significant because it really affects the Yemenis.”
“The U.S. will now be perceived as an active party to the conflict,” he added.
At the time, the Saudi-led coalition admitted it had made a “technical mistake,” but such an admission has hardly stopped it from raining bombs on Yemen. Coalition airstrikes continue to devastate the country, more than two years after Saudi Arabia began its brutal campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The United Nations Human Rights Council explicitly identified the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes as “the leading cause of civilian casualties” in the war in Yemen.
International organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have called for an independent investigation into Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen, which they say violate international law and constitute war crimes. But so far, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s attempts have floundered amid opposition from Saudi Arabia and silence from the U.S.
Between 2012 and 2016, the U.S. was the top weapons exporter in the world and Saudi Arabia was the top consumer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.