MoD ‘urgently investigating’ claims Saudi Arabia is using UK-made cluster bombs in Yemen

Damage is seen at a site hit by Saudi-led air strikes on the al Qaeda-held port of Shahr city in Yemen © Stringer
Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is urgently investigating claims that banned UK-made cluster bombs have been used by Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen.

UK-manufactured cluster bombs have been found in a Yemeni village, according to a report published by human rights NGO Amnesty International on Monday.

Responding to the report, Defence Minister Philip Dunne said the last time Britain produced cluster bombs for sale was in 1989.

Dunne added the British government believes assurances from Saudi Arabia that it has not used cluster bombs in Yemen.

The MoD is now urgently investigating the allegations that have been made,” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Parliament on Tuesday.

The unexploded BL-755 cluster bomb is designed to be dropped from the UK-made Tornado aircraft used by the Saudi Air Force. It was found in a village in the north of conflict-torn Yemen.

The bomb is said to have been manufactured as long ago as the 1970s by a Bedfordshire-based arms company called Hunting Engineering.

Cluster bombs have been subject to a global ban since 2008.