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  1. ITV Report

Government 'deeply concerned' about Saudi use of UK weapons against civilians in Yemen

The government is "deeply concerned" by reports of UK weapons being used by the Saudi air force in strikes on civilian targets in Yemen, Boris Johnson has said.

But he said he did not believe the "threshold" had been crossed which would demand the suspension of arms sales to the Middle Eastern country.

This partially-deployed British cluster bomb was found in a field in northern Yemen. Credit: ITV News

It comes after ITV News uncovered evidence that British-made cluster bombs were being used in the civil war in Yemen - weapons banned by Britain in 2010.

Britain has been under pressure to halt military exports to Saudi Arabia, who are leading a regional coalition supporting the Yemeni government in fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels, amid repeated reports of civilians being hit.

The United Nations released a report earlier this year detailing "widespread and systematic" attacks on civilian targets, which would be in violation of international humanitarian law.

Photographs of British-made IBL755s shown to ITV News by a Houthi fighter. Credit: ITV News

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, the Foreign Secretary said there were "very difficult questions" for ministers on the use of UK-built weapons and technology - but said he did not believe any law had been broken.

So far we do not believe there has been a clear risk of breach of international humanitarian law.

People should not underestimate the concern we have about this. We are deeply concerned. I had a conversation only last night with the Saudi foreign minister, my counterpart, about this.

Of course we are making representations the whole time. At the moment we do not think the threshold has been crossed.

– Boris Johnson

He confirmed British experts had been giving "general advice" to the Saudis on avoiding civilian casualties, but said they were not involved in selecting targets.