RIYADH: Accusations that the coalition conducted illegal airstrikes on five sites were denied at a press conference by the Joint incident Assessment TEAM (JIAT) on Sunday.
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said: “The number of assessments that the team is currently undertaking is 70 cases and we have completed five assessments.”
The team refuted the allegations made against the Arab coalition in Yemen, producing evidence and a team of experts, including legal consultants accredited by international organizations and military professionals.
The first case concerned a Human Rights Watch report on June 11, 2016, which claimed that the coalition dropped a bomb in the neighborhood of Hasbah in Sanaa targeting the Chamber of Commerce. It injured a security guard and destroyed the eastern wing of a three-story building.
“The team received intelligence from coalition forces regarding the Houthi militias’ use of the building as military barracks.
“Therefore, the coalition forces at the time bombed the building in Sanaa, which fell from the legal protection prescribed by international conventions, as it was a legitimate target that held Houthi militia. As a legitimate military target, attacking it achieves a military advantage,” said Al-Mansour.
The second case concerned a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Aug. 6, 2015, which said that the coalition carried out an airstrike on Bab Aden Water Reservoir on July 8, 2015.
JIAT found that the coalition forces executed a mission on three legitimate military targets in Aden. The closest target to Bab Aden Water Reservoir was approximately 5,500 meters. Al-Mansour said: “JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not target Bab Aden Water Reservoir.”
The third case concerned the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued on Aug. 4, 2016, which stated that the coalition carried out an attack on Al-Hosaini Mosque on July 14, 2015, in Aden.
“According to locals, the mosque was used for military purposes by the Houthi militia.”
However, JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not attack the mosque, and that there were no signs of damages on July 14, 2015. The target was a building where Houthi militants gathered in Aden, 4km away from the claimed location.
The fourth case concerned a claim that there were three airstrikes on Al-Qat market, killing 25 people and injuring 16 others.
Al-Mansour said: “JIAT found that on Sept. 19, 2015, the coalition executed two air missions on two legitimate military targets, which achieved a military advantage, in Sadah Governorate, the closest location was a cave used by Houthi Militia as weapons storage, located 100km away from Al-Qat market.
“The JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not attack the market, and confirmed the procedures of the coalition in attacking the legitimate military target, which was 100km away from Al-Qat market.”
The fifth case concerned news broadcast in the Yemeni media that the coalition forces executed an airstrike on a health center for cholera patients at 4:30 p.m. on June 3, 2017, which was crowded with cholera patients and their companions in Qahza district, Sadah city. The airstrike caused dozens of injuries, destroyed the building and the center’s medical facilities, putting it out of service.
“JIAT found that on June 3, 2017, the coalition air forces executed three air missions on military targets used by Houthi militia as missile storages in Sadah, that represented a legitimate military target, located 3km away from the claimed location, and were direct hits,” Al-Mansour said.
Pictures were shown at the press conference to refute claims that the collation was unlawfully bombing and not adhering to the international humanitarian law.
Al-Mansour concluded by saying: “Based on the above, the team has concluded that the three military actions were correct and consistent with international humanitarian law.”