Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) Response to Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International
Spokesman of Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), Mansour Ahmad Al-Mansour, stressed that with regard to an announcement issued by Doctors Without Borders on the alleged bombing carried out by the coalition forces on Abs Hospital in the city of Abs in Yemen’s Hjjah Province on Aug. 15, 2016, which resulted in death seven people and wounding 13 others, the JIAT verified facts and circumstances of the incident based on confirmed intelligence information 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. It was later identified as Abs Hospital.
In a press conference held today at King Salman Airbase for Middle Sector, Al-Mansour said that “in light of what has been viewed from the facts of 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 apologize 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.
Al-Mansour refuting allegations by Amnesty International that Asmaa School in the city of Al-Mansouriya in the Yemeni province of Al-Hodeida was subject to air shelling on Aug. 24, 2015. The spokesman said that it was revealed that the Coalition Forces have targeted the Asmaa School based on surveillance information that the armed Houthi militias and forces loyal to former president Abdullah Salah were using the site as a headquarters and a weapons storage and distribution center for weapons smuggled through Al-Hodeida port, thus making it a legitimate high value target that achieves certified military advantage.
Accordingly, and based on the rules of the international humanitarian law, 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%. JIAT has, accordingly, concluded that the procedures followed by the Coalition Forces targeting the questionable site were intact and correct.
With regard of the allegation contained by the Swedish Embassy that a food factory owned by Mr. Abdullah Ahmad Al-Agel, Honorary Swedish Consul in Sana'a was subject to aerial shelling on Aug. 9, 2016, which resulted in death of 16 workers, JIAT spokesman said that the investigation in the circumstances of the incident, found that the Coalition Forces bombed two sites on Aug. 9, an antennae connections used for military purposes in the Ayban Mount west of Sana’a (7 km from the factory in question), and a cave in Eastern Altahedan Mount south of Sana’a (10 km from the factory in question) and used for military purposes. Al-Mansour indicated that the two mentioned sites were legitimate military targets in accordance to the rules of engagement and international humanitarian law and that JIAT did not find any evidence to support allegations that that Coalition Forces bombed the factory. The Coalition therefore the allegations by the Swedish Embassy.
Regarding the allegation of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that Al-Fazel School in Saada Province was subject to shelling on Aug. 13, 2016, which resulted in death 10 children and injuring at least nine people, the spokesman said that JIST investigated the facts and circumstances of the incident, and based on the confirmed information were dispatched by MSF on the site of incident, and found clearly that the school was not targeted. Coalition Forces targeted weapons depots belonging to Houthi armed group, a distanced 10 km from the school. The Coalition Forces, therefore, rejects the MSF allegations.
The JIST spokesman also refuted allegations by the Amnesty International that a cattle market in the village of Fayyoh, in Lahaj Province, was subject to shelling by Coalition Forces on July 6, 2015, resulted in the death of 40 people and injuring dozens. The spokesman confirmed that JIST has investigated the facts and circumstances of the incident, and found that the mentioned market was not bombed. He added that Coalition Forces bombed two legitimate military targets on July 6, a gathering of armed Houthi militia about 7 km northwest of the cattle market, and a armed Houthi military command building 10 km north of the market. The spokesman said JIST found that the cattle market was not bombed by Coalition Forces.