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Saudi-led Coalition Says It Regrets Yemen Civilian Causalities

Men inspect a house destroyed by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Sana'a, Yemen, Jan. 25, 2016.

The Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels in Yemen said Sunday it has put together an independent team to investigate civilian deaths.

A coalition statement said it greatly regrets civilian casualties in Yemen.

It said an independent team of experts in global humanitarian law will "develop a clear and comprehensive report on each incident with the conclusions, lessons learned, recommendations and measures that should be taken" to prevent any more civilian deaths.

A U.N. panel of experts last week asked the Security Council to look into allegations that all sides in Yemen have broken international law, including the Saudi-led coalition.

The experts said 119 sorties may have broken the law by hitting civilian targets, including refugee camps, weddings, schools, markets and residential neighborhoods.

They said there were at least three incidents of civilians running away from helicopters that were chasing them and shooting at them.

The panel also accused the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of using starvation against civilian populations as part of war -- a tactic forbidden by international law.

The U.N. says more than 82 percent of the Yemeni population is in dire need of food and medical care.

The Saudi-led coalition, backed by Yemeni and Arab ground forces, is fighting to push out the Houthis, who control the capital Sana'a.