The bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen’s Saada was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN.
Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on August 9 was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.
The bomb is very similar to the one that wreaked devastation in an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen in October 2016 in which 155 people were killed and hundreds more wounded, the report said.
In March of that year, a strike on a Yemeni market — this time reportedly by a US-supplied precision-guided MK 84 bomb — killed 97 people.
In the aftermath of the funeral hall attack, former US President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia over “human rights concerns.”
The ban was overturned by the Trump administration’s then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March 2017.
The impact of the bomb on Saada’s Dahian market was devastating, as it landed on the bus full of excited schoolchildren on a day trip.
Of the 51 people who died in the airstrike, 40 were children, Health Minister in Yemen’s salvation government, Taha al-Mutawakil, said last week. He added that of the 79 people wounded, 56 were children.
The CNN meanwhile, quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the strike was a direct hit in the middle of the busy market.