“There is no team from Human Rights Watch on the ground,” Saudi military spokesman Gen. Ahmad al-Assiri told National Public Radio (NPR) in an interview that aired this morning.
He was responding to a question about a March 15, 2016 airstrike on a market in the northern Yemeni town of Mastaba that killed at least 97 civilians. A colleague and I had visited the site in late March and found remnants of a United States-supplied 2,000 pound bomb, one of several used in the attack. We even shot a video in the demolished market. On camera I say, “I am standing here in the remains of Mastaba market….”
Human Rights Watch published a report on our findings, calling on the Saudis to investigate the apparently unlawful attack – a possible war crime. It was one of the deadliest single attacks in the campaign by the Saudi-led coalition to oust northern Houthi rebels and their allies from the capital, Sanaa, and other areas. At least 3,000 civilians have died over the past year, most from airstrikes.