Saudis Admit Civilians Killed in Friday Airstrike on Yemen

Officials Say Attack on Apartments Was 'A Technical Error'

Friday’s attack on a residential district in the southern part of Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa was a legitimate military action against “a legitimate military target,” according to Saudi officials, who say that the civilian death toll was the result of a “technical error.

The airstrikes hit a pair of buildings, mostly leveling an abandoned building in the area that was apparently the “intended target,” but also leveling an adjoining apartment complex, killing 16 civilians, seven of them children.

Despite Saudi officials claiming the other building was a “command and control center,” and accusing the Shi’ite Houthis of using the slain civilians as “human shields,” there is no evidence anyone was in the other building at all, or that it had been in recent use.

Still, it is unusual for the Saudis to admit to killing civilian bystanders at all, with the other attack on civilians in the city that same week more typical leading to claims that everyone slain, children included, were “Shi’ite renegades.”

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.