Yemen funeral bombing: US to ‘immediately review’ support for Saudi-led coalition

© Mohamed al-Sayaghi
The White House has announced an “immediate” review of US support for the Saudi-led coalition in wake of a funeral hall bombing in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, that left over 150 dead and hundreds injured.

Washington, which has been a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, appears to have distanced itself from Saturday’s devastating bombing that took place amid Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying it was “deeply disturbed” and promising to review its military support for Riyadh.

In a statement, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said that a “troubling series of attacks striking Yemeni civilians” had prompted the US to rethink its position.

“We have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen’s tragic conflict,” the statement said.

Price warned Riyadh that US-Saudi security cooperation was “not a blank check.”

And according to AFP, the Arab coalition has agreed to join the US in investigating the strike.

The bombing took place less than three weeks after the US Senate greenlighted a $1.15 billion deal selling military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The Senate did so by blocking a bill opposing the controversial sale due to Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemeni conflict and Riyadh’s human rights record.

READ MORE: ‘Utter disregard for civilian life’: MSF slams Saudi airstrikes on Yemen hospitals

Washington also urged all parties to the conflict – the Houthi rebels, the Saudi-led coalition and the Yemeni government it supports – to adhere to an April 10 ceasefire that has been broken repeatedly by all sides.

On Saturday, a Saudi-led coalition aircraft targeted a Houthi funeral ceremony, killing at least 140 people and injuring hundreds more. The missile launched by the aircraft tore the roof of the building hosting ceremony and killed scores of people. The ceremony was reportedly held to pay the last respects to the late father of the Houthi rebels’ interior minister.

For its part, Riyadh has denied there were any coalition aircraft in the area.
The Saudi-led coalition of nine Arab states has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen since March last year.

The Saudi-led coalition of nine Arab states has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen since March last year.