Saudi Arabia calls deadly strike on Yemeni civilians a 'mistake'

Yemenis stand in the rubble of a house destroyed Friday in an airstrike in Sanaa.

Story highlights

  • The intended target was a Houthi command center, a Saudi official said
  • Coalition officials express "deep sorrow" for deaths

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN)A deadly airstrike on residential buildings in Sanaa was the result of a "technical mistake," the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said Saturday in a statement to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The strike killed 16 people, including seven children, Yemen's rebel-controlled health ministry said Friday.
    The attack, which flattened two buildings in Sanaa's southern district of Faj Attan, comes amid escalating violence in the war-torn country.
    A Yemeni man covered in blood reacts as people search for survivors following Friday's strike.
    A Saudi-led coalition spokesman expressed "deep sorrow for this unintentional accident and for the collateral damage among civilians."
    The intended target of the strike was a command-and-control center for Houthi rebels, spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said, calling it "a legitimate military target."
    The facility, al-Maliki said, was intentionally set up in a residential area to turn civilians into human shields.
    Saudi Arabia, backed by a coalition of Arab states, launched a military operation in March 2015