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Arab Coalition says it did not target prison in Yemen’s Saada: Initial findings

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An investigation launched by the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) on an alleged targeted prison strike by the Arab Coalition has revealed the location to be a “Special Security Camp in Saada, which is a legitimate military target,” according to an official spokesperson, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

The investigation team has started gathering information and documents to present to OCHA Yemen and ICRC, Brigadier General Turki al-Malki said in a statement carried by SPA.

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On January 21, several media outlets reported that the coalition conducted an airstrike that killed detainees in a prison run by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

There are four reported locations identified as prisons in the Joint Forces Command’s No Strike List (NSL) in Saada city. These are allegedly being used by the “terrorist Houthi militia,” to launch of cross-border attacks to target civilians and civilian installations, SPA reported.

“The closest prison is located 1.8 kilometers away from the alleged location,” clarified al-Malki in the statement, adding that the reports shared by the Iran-backed Houthis are part of a “blatant attempt to mislead the public opinion regarding the true nature of the location in an attempt to garner sympathy from UN organizations and INGOs.”

The investigation team is preparing to invite OCHA Yemen and ICRC to visit the Arab Coalition’s headquarters to “familiarize them with the true nature of the military location in question, discuss the misleading Houthi narrative and exchange the available information.”

The statement carried by SPA further added that “the coalition implements the highest targeting standards and highest international standards in its targeting mechanism and Rules of Engagement. The terrorist Houthi militia bears the full responsibility in case it uses civilians as human shields in its military locations or any case contrary to IHL rules concerning detention centers stated in Article (23) of Geneva Convention (III) and Article (5) Paragraph (2.C) of Protocol (II) Additional to the Geneva Conventions.”

The Arab Coalition has been carrying out attacks against legitimate military Houthi targets in Yemen in recent months, warning civilians to not approach or gather around the targeted sites beforehand.

The coalition strikes are in defense against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis who have launched dozens of cross-border attacks, one of which impacted UAE’s Abu Dhabi.

The coalition continues to maintain that the operations are conducted in line with international humanitarian law, which was reiterated in the latest statement on SPA.

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