Britain’s export of bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia has increased by nearly 500 percent since the start of the kingdom’s deadly aggression on Yemen, says a UK-based organization working to end the international arms trade.
The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said that in the two years leading up to the war on Yemen, the UK government had approved £33 million worth of licenses covering the sale of bombs, missiles and countermeasures to the Riyadh regime, The Independent reported on Tuesday.
In the two years since the beginning of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in March 2015, the figure rose to £1.9 billion, up by 457 per cent, the CAAT added.
It also found that the UK government licenses covering aircraft, including Eurofighter jets, have soared by 70 percent to £2.6 billion in the same period.
Tom Barns, CAAT co-director, said London had been accelerating sales of “equipment being used to commit atrocities in Yemen” as Saudi air raids increase on the impoverished nation.
“Over the course of this year the situation in Yemen is only getting worse,” he warned. “At a time when the UK should at least be putting more consideration into what’s being sold they are giving more and more of these licenses.”
Yemen has witnessed a deadly Saudi-led war since March 2015. The protracted Saudi offensive, which has been accompanied by a naval and aerial blockade on Yemen, has so far killed over 12,000 people and led to a humanitarian crisis.
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world’s number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million Yemenis in need of food and cholera causing over 2,000 deaths.
Recently, Saudi Arabia sealed off Yemen’s air, sea, and land borders, after Houthi fighters targeted an international airport near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have demanded the Saudi-led coalition lift a blockade that has prevented aid deliveries from reaching Yemen.
On Tuesday, Saudi jets conducted air raids on the Aflah ditrict of Yemen’s northwestern Hajjah province, killing and inuring 60 people, among them women and children.