British-made bomb parts discovered in Yemen: UN experts

British-made bomb parts discovered in Yemen: UN experts
Laser guidance missile systems were found on an air raid site in Yemen by the United Nations and traced back to a British-based company.
3 min read
19 August, 2019
Campaign Against Arms Trade estimates British arms sales to Saudi Arabia at £4.7 billion [Getty]

Fragments of British-made bomb parts were uncovered at the site of an air raid in Yemen, according to the United Nations.

A UN panel of experts discovered the British laser guidance missile systems on a site near the capital Sanaa where four bombs were dropped in September 2016, The Guardian reported.

The guidance unit found by the UN were stamped with EDOMBM Technology Ltd - the name of a Brighton-based company owned by the US arms supplier L3 Harris.

Parts from the same company were also found by the UN in a strike that occurred at the Alsonidar complex around the same time.

The export of British arms to Saudi Arabia, totalling at least £4.7bn since it intervened in the Yemen war, has been widely criticised.

The latest UN finding shows "that British technology has been deployed in a conflict where the Saudi-led coalition has been repeatedly accused of indiscriminate bombing," the Guardian reported.

The British government announced in June it would suspend issuing new Saudi licenses for the sale of arms that might be used in the Gulf kingdom's bombing campaign in Yemen.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the decision in parliament after a British court ordered the government to "reconsider" sales due to their humanitarian impact.

The decision came after Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) went before the UK Court of Appeal in April to overturn a 2017 High Court judgment which allowed the government to continue with arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT welcomed their victory, but said they should not have had to go to court to begin with.

"The Saudi Arabian regime is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world, yet, for decades, it has been the largest buyer of UK-made arms, said Andrew Smith of CAAT.

"No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the UK."

A month before the strikes in question occurred, then foreign secretary Borish Johnson declared he was "content to allow the export of weapons systems to Saudi Arabia in the expectation they would be used in Yemen," according to The Guardian.

Comment: Court ruling exposes morally bankrupt arms sales to Saudi Arabia

The Yemen war entered its fourth year in March. Described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis by the United Nations, the war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi and UAE-backed government has left millions on the brink of famine.

At least 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Yemen war since March 2015, although rights groups say the death toll is much higher.

British and American-made bombs may have killed or injured more than 1,000 Yemeni civilians, including women and children

Agencies contributed to this report.

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