Report: Saudi Arabia Used U.S.-supplied Cluster Bombs in Yemen

(CNN)Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi Arabia of dropping U.S.-supplied cluster bombs in the fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The small bombs, if unexploded, can lay dormant and then detonate when people stumble upon one by chance, killing or maiming them as a result.

An international treaty against cluster bombs has been adopted by 116 countries, but the United States, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are not among them.

The particular cluster munition systems HRW said were used are CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons, which are guided bombs intended to take out tanks and other armored vehicles with a flurry of explosions spread out over an area.

If the cluster bombs fail to detect their target, they are designed to self-destruct in the air, or if that fails, to deactivate themselves after a short time. But sometimes those mechanisms don’t work, posing a lethal danger for those who later encounter them.

Saudi Arabia has denied there are any coalition forces in Yemen and says there are only Yemeni forces that Saudi Arabia is supporting, according to Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, a Saudi military spokesman. He told CNN Saudi Arabia has been using CBU-105 in Yemen against armored vehicles and not in the city.

“There is no foreign fighters in Yemen, so far,” Asiri told CNN on Sunday.

Asiri also criticized the Human Rights Watch organization on how it obtains information, saying it is getting it from Houthi militia.

“The (HRW) report itself defines the 105 as anti-vehicle weapons. We do not use it against persons. We don’t have any operation in the cities. So the allegation which is in the report it is, I think it is not so solid.”

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