The Saudi-led coalition admitted Saturday that "mistakes" had been made in an August air strike on Yemen that killed 51 people including 40 children, adding that those responsible must be "punished."
An air attack by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen last month that killed dozens of people, including children traveling on a bus, lacked military justification and requires a review of the rules of engagement, a coalition body said on Saturday.
The rare concession by the Joint Incident Assessment Team, an investigative entity set up by the coalition, follows mounting international pressure, including from allies, to do more to limit civilian casualties in the nearly four-year civil war.
The Western-backed alliance fighting the Iranian-aligned Houthi group in Yemen said at the time that the air strikes had targeted missile launchers used to attack the southern Saudi city of Jizan a day earlier and accused the Houthis of using children as human shields.
JIAT legal adviser, Mansour Ahmed al Mansour, on Saturday said the strikes had been based on intelligence indicating that the bus was carrying Houthi leaders, a legitimate military target, but that delays in executing the strike and receiving a no-strike order should be investigated.
"There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing (the opportunity) to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage," Mansour told reporters in the Saudi capital.
"The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance," he added.
Mansour also recommended that the coalition hold those responsible for the error accountable and compensate victims.
TRT World's Arabella Munro reports.
The leadership of the Western-backed alliance said in a statement that it would continue to review its rules of engagement in order to prevent a recurrence of such events.
Last week, a UN panel of human rights experts said that some coalition air strikes may constitute war crimes, while US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said US support for the Saudi-led coalition was not unconditional, but suggested the United States would continue to support the alliance as it works to reduce fallout on civilians.