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Saudi-led coalition denies using cluster bombs in Yemen

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Riyadh: The Saudi-led coalition bombing rebels in Yemen denied today renewed accusations of dropping cluster bombs in the country after UN chief Ban Ki-moon said their use may be a “war crime”.

The coalition “denies using cluster bombs in Sanaa”, the Yemeni capital, spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told AFP.

He was specifically responding to a report issued Thursday by the US-based Human Rights Watch, which quoted residents describing a January 6 attack consistent with airdropped cluster bomb use.

A day later Ban said he had received “troubling reports” of cluster bomb attacks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

“I think it’s a very weak report,” Assiri said of HRW’s study. “They didn’t show any evidence.”

He said the watchdog mentioned a type of cluster munition “that doesn’t exist in our stock,” adding that 90 percent of coalition operations in Sanaa are directed against Scud missile launchers.

“You cannot use a cluster bomb against Scud launchers,” Assiri said.

There has been widespread international concern about the high numbers of civilian casualties in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition has been supporting Yemeni forces since March against the rebels and their allies, who seized territory from the internationally-recognised government.

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