Munitions experts have confirmed that a bomb used by Saudi Arabia in last week’s attack on a school bus in Yemen that killed dozens of children had been supplied by the U.S.
The experts told CNN on Friday that the bomb was a 227-kilogram laser-guided Mark 82 bomb.
They also noted that the numbers on the weapon identified major U.S. military contractor Lockheed Martin as its maker.
The Saudi air raid on Sa’ada hit a school bus on August 9 as it drove through a market in the town of Dhahyan, sparking outrage from international human rights groups and U.N. officials.
The attack killed a total of 51 people, among them 40 children, and left 79 others wounded.
Earlier this week, a local journalist said recovered bomb fragments showed that it was likely manufactured in the U.S.
Riyadh initially described the Sa’ada strike as a “legitimate military action,” but later launched an investigation into the incident amid mounting criticism of its bloody war on Yemen.
Asked about CNN’s report, Saudi “coalition” spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that it would not “be appropriate for the coalition to comment further while the investigation is underway.”
The report also said that the bomb used in the Sa’ada airstrike was very similar to the one that hit a funeral hall in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in October 2016, killing 155 people and injuring 525 others.
In December that year, the U.S. cancelled the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia because of concerns about civilian casualties. In March 2017, however, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump overturned the ban.
Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby claimed that the government of former President Barack Obama had “deep concerns about the way the Saudis were targeting, and we acted on those concerns by limiting the kinds of munitions that they were being given and stridently trying to argue for them to be more careful and cautious.”
Recent fatal Saudi airstrikes have highlighted the issue of the U.S. complicity in the deaths of the Yemenis.
On Friday, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sana’a to condemn the economic hardship caused by the U.S.-backed Saudi war.