Aug 18, 2018

Report: Bomb that killed children on bus in Yemen was U.S.-made

Mourners carry the coffin of a child killed in an airstrike on a bus. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

The bomb responsible for hitting a bus and killing dozens in Yemen last week, including children, was made by U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and sold to Saudi Arabia through a State Department-sanctioned arms deal, according to CNN.

Why it matters: The attack that left a reported 40 children dead and dozens injured gripped the international community, leading the UN to call for an investigation. The U.S. has maintained that its involvement in the war between the Saudi coalition and the Houthi rebels in Yemen is to the extent of information sharing and refueling of aircrafts. But CNN says the latest strike has led to growing questions "about whether the U.S. bears any moral culpability."

The details: CNN came to its conclusion by working "with local Yemeni journalists and munition experts." The bomb that was used was found to be a "500-pound...laser-guided MK 82 bomb" from Lockheed Martin.

  • Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich declined to confirm CNN's report, saying the U.S. "has worked with the Saudi-led coalition to help them improve procedures and oversight mechanisms to reduce civilian casualties."
  • A State Department official told Axios: "We cannot independently verify what may have been found on site, and we refer to the Saudis for the details of their procurement and stockpile management. The United States has called upon all parties to take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure."

Flashback: President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to the Saudis in 2016 after the coalition hit a funeral hall and killed 155 people. Per CNN, that ban "was overturned by...then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March 2017."

Behind the scenes, U.S. officials have been bringing up last week's strike with Saudi officials, CNN reports. Defense Secretary James Mattis said: "Wars are always tragic, but we've got to find a way to protect the innocent in the midst of this one."

Go deeper: Read America's role in Yemen's disaster.

Go deeper

Brace yourself for a coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public-health officials’ warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, with one top CDC official asking the public yesterday "to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Reality check: Other administration officials, including President Trump himself, were more subdued in their assessments. But underneath those tonal differences, the reality of the coronavirus is the same: It spreads quickly, and has already spread to many countries, making it likely to start spreading here, too.

Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.

Bob Iger stuns media world with sudden departure as Disney CEO

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In a move that shocked the media industry, Bob Iger said Tuesday he would step down from his role as CEO of the Walt Disney Company after leading the entertainment giant to unprecedented success during his 15-year run in the job.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully led Disney through a series of risky but highly-successful acquisitions that not only solidified the company's entertainment dominance, but also ultimately reshaped the entire media landscape.