JIAT Official Spokesman Holds Press Conference 4

With regard to the statement of the Coalition spokesman, that the Coalition Forces forwarded the results of a targeting operations gather of the Al-Huthi armed militia elements in Kitaf area in Saada province, within a military operations zone, to JIAT for the probability of accidental incident. The United States State Department spokesman said that a transparent investigation into the bombing of a hospital in Yemen should be conducted, and we learned that the Coalition Forces had referred the incident to JIAT for review and investigation. Also the statement issued by Save the Children Fund, that on Tuesday March 26th 2019, a rocket hits a petrol station near the entrance of Kitaf rural hospital, about 100 km from the town of Saada In Yemen, all parties were obliged not to target and avoid the hospital by a radius of 110 yards, and called on to conduct an immediate and credible investigation. JIAT vetted the incident and, reviewed all documents, including interviewing and listening to the statements of those involved in the military operation carried out, and after studying the air tasking order, daily mission schedule, after mission reports, satellite images of the target site, video recording of the tasked and supporting flights, video recording of the surveillance system, rules of engagements of the Coalition Forces, the principles and provisions of International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules, and after the assessment of evidences, JIAT found that, based on an intelligence information received by the Coalition Forces about weapons, ammunition, and combat elements of Al-Houthi armed militia to support Al-Huthi armed militia to attack the legitimate Yemeni forces in the area of operations in the Kitaf axis, which is moving towards the village of Kitaf to free it from the grip of Al-Houthi armed militia, and near the axis of progress of the legitimate forces, which is witnessing combat confrontations with light and heavy weapons.

On the basis of this information, a surveillance operation was carried out on Tuesday 26/03/2019, which spotted an intensive activity of vehicles, motorcycles and fighters of Al-Houthi armed militia northeast of the village of Kitaf in Saada governorate including a vehicle carrying weapons, ammunition and combat elements. The vehicle stopped under a tree in a location that is about 430 meters from the hospital, Coalition Forces examined the Collateral Damage Estimation CDE, the military target was approximately 430 meters from the site of the hospital, which is on the No Strike List (NSL) of the Coalition Forces, the distance between them does not affect that protected location, the tasked flight had experienced a defect in the Laser Designation Pod (LDP) just before the implementation of the targeting operation, which required a support aircraft to guide the bomb to the target, meanwhile the military target a vehicle carrying Weapons, ammunition and combat elements of Al-Houthi armed militia moved from its location and stopped next to another armed vehicle carrying 10 fighter elements, the two vehicles then moved to another location a building used by the Houthi as a distribution and supply point known to the Coalition Forces and previously included in the observation and reconnaissance list, when the supporting aircraft arrived at the site to support the operation by guiding the bomb, the two vehicle moved away from the building, distribution and supply point, one of them was parked near a building in the village of Kitaf, the other vehicle went into hiding under a tree, the fighters on board left the vehicle and hid under another tree that was about 125 meters away from the hospital, the moving target which hid under the trees in the latest location, was re-evaluated, however the fierce clashes between the legitimate forces and the Al-Huthi armed militia in the area of operations, and the continued military necessity, hastened the work procedures to ensure that the military advantage is not lost, which result in imprecision evaluation of the likely hood that the none military surrounding could be inside the effect of the targeting.

JIAT through the study of the after-mission report, the analysis of satellite and intelligence images, and the open source of the Coalition Force's target location, found that a support aircraft was used to guide the bomb from the other fighter aircraft to the specific military target using one guided bomb, a malfunction in the bomb caused it to fall about 100 meters away from the military target, causing damage to an entrance and a small building inside the hospital wall of the claim, and the destruction of a gas station.

The video of the fighter aircraft confirmed the precise aiming on the military target Al-Houthi armed militia hiding under a tree, and showed that the bomb had been diverted and dropped at another location approximately 100 meters from the designated military target.

The video of the aircraft that guided the laser bomb showed that the targeting was aimed at the military target Al-Huthi armed militia hiding under a tree in a building-free area, laser guidance continued on the specific military target until the bomb impact, which was drifted about 100 meters away from the designated military target, an explosion was seen north of the military target near Kitaf hospital, which confirms the bomb malfunction.

In light of that, JIAT reached the following:

A. The validity of what was referred to JIAT by the Coalition Forces for collateral damage as a result of an accidental incident during a targeting operation, in the area of operations northeast of the village of Kitaf in Saada governorate on 26/03/2019.

B. Kitaf rural hospital the place of the claim is on the NO Strike List (NSL) of the Coalition Forces.

C. The availability of intelligence information about a military, enforcements (weapons, munitions, and Al-Houthi armed militias) to support the Al-Huthi armed militia in the attack on Yemeni legitimate forces in the area of operations the Kitaf axis, which is considered to be a legitimate military target whose destruction achieves a military advantage based on Article 52 Paragraph 2 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions.

D. Verification degree is achieved by executing (monitoring and surveillance) operation by the surveillance system, which discovered two vehicles carrying weapons, ammunition, and combat elements of Al-Houthi armed militia, based on customary rule No. 16.

E. The legal protection of the civilian objects (a vehicle carrying weapons, ammunition, and combat elements) of the Al-Houthi armed militia was lost, due to the use of it to support the war effort, in accordance with article 52 (3) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions.

F. The bomb drifted away and fell about 100 meters from the location of the specific military target, due to a technical defect in the bomb.

G. The validity of the actions taken by the Coalition Forces in dealing with the legitimate military target, in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and its customary rules.

H. The mission commander hastened the work procedures to ensure that the military advantage is not lost, which resulted in inaccuracies in the assessment of the possibility of entering the non-military environment within the side effects of targeting.

I. The commander of the mission did not request a re-targeting despite the lack of achieving the military advantage due to the deviation of the bomb, and its fall in another location due to a defect, in order to protect the safety of civilians and civilian objects.

JIAT recommends the following:

A. The Coalition Forces to study the reasons for the failure of the bomb to hit its target, and to take a corrective measures to prevent this from happening in the future.

B. Accountability of the Task Commander for breaching the rules of engagement of the Coalition Forces, due to the inaccuracy in the assessment of the possibility of entering the non-military environment within the side effects of targeting.

C. It is appropriate for Coalition states to provide assistance as a result of an accidental incident during the targeting of a legitimate military target, resulting in human and material damage caused by the deviation of the bomb.

Source: Saudi Press Agency