Saudi Arabia used cluster bombs against Houthi Shiites

 Saudi Arabia used cluster bombs against Houthi Shiites

Saudi Arabia has reportedly used cluster bombs against the Houthis in northern Yemen in 2009, a new report has said.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly used cluster bombs against the Houthis in northern Yemen in 2009, a new report has said.

A documentary report by US television network HBO said Saudi forces dropped bombs on areas in Yemen’s northern province of Sa’ada, adding that the bombs are still claiming civilians' lives.

The report noted that shells which were marked with a model type, CBU-52B/B, and labels that read “US AIR FORCE” were found in Sa’ada.

IHS Jane’s, a defense and security analysis firm, said the Saudis used European Tornado IDS and American-made F-15S aircraft in the fighting, the report added.

“Most of the planes they used to drop the cluster bombs were Tornadoes,” Hamoud Gabish, the deputy director of al-Hayyat humanitarian organization, said of a series of attacks that, by his estimate, resulted in bombs being dropped on 164 locations in Sa’ada.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, Gabish held the US and UK accountable for the bombings and their aftermath.

The US and UK militaries provide training and logistical support to the Saudi army and UK and American firms including BAE Systems and Boeing have profitable service and supply contracts with the Saudi Air Force. BAE led the manufacture of the Tornado, and Boeing merged with F-15 maker McDonnell Douglas in 1997.

In November 2009, Saudi forces started fighting against the Houthis and bombing their positions after accusing the fighters of killing Saudi border guards.

The Houthis have been fighting against the central government in Sana’a for years. They complain that they have been economically and politically marginalized by the Yemeni government.

Cluster bombs are weapons dropped by aircraft or fired from the ground and they scatter submunitions over a wide area. Campaigners say many of these submunitions or bomblets fail to blow up during wars, posing a long-lasting threat to civilians, particularly farmers and children.

Last August, the US Defense Department gave a contract valued at $641 million to manufacture 1,300 cluster bombs for Saudi Arabia to Textron Defense Systems, a unit of Textron Inc. (TXT.N).

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