Saudis: Bombing Yemen Funeral Home ‘A Mistake’

Officials Aim to Shift Blame to Yemeni Allies

This time last week, Saudi Arabia was looking to deal with the aftermath of an airstrike against a funeral home in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, an attack which killed 155 people, by denying that the incident had happened, and claiming that they had nothing to do with it.

Things have changed, and now the Saudi-led coalition is admitting to the “mistake,” saying it was the result of bad intelligence, and trying to shift the bulk of the blame for the attack onto their allies inside Yemen, affiliated with former President Hadi.

The Saudi inquiry said they were falsely told the funeral home was full of Houthi leaders, and accused Yemen’s Air Operation Command of authorizing the strike without first checking with the coalition’s command.

There were some members of the Houthi movement at the funeral, which was for the Interior Minister’s father. Among the slain were Sanaa’s mayor and three generals loyal to former President Saleh, who is seen backing the Houthis ever since the Saudis blew up his house in a previous “mistake.”

While this incident, the deadliest of the entire war, is unique in that the Saudi inquiry actually ended up public in a timely fashion, reports showing that roughly a third of Saudi airstrikes hit known civilian targets at any rate does not inspire confidence that this was a one-off error, nor indeed does the report attributing it to false reports of who was at the funeral lend credence to the idea they wouldn’t normally attack a funeral.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.