UK will not immediately halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia despite Yemen funeral bombing

Britain will not halt sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia before an investigation into an airstrike which killed 140 mourners at a funeral in Yemen is complete.

The Saudi-led coalition, battling Houthi rebels in the country's north, has been blamed for the attack in the capital Sanaa which injured more than 500 people.

Both the US and UK supply Saudi Arabia with arms, including fighter jets and bombs.

Following the airstrike, part of the Yemeni government's ongoing battle with the rebels, the US warned that its co-operation with the coalition was "not a blank cheque".

But on Monday, Downing Street stated it would not review its sale of arms to the desert kingdom before a probe into the airstrike was complete.

The airstrike destroyed a building that was hosting a funeral Credit: Reuters

According to the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the UK has sold more than £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi government since the bombing campaign in Yemen began in March 2015.

The campaign's spokesman, Andrew Smith, said: "The humanitarian situation in Yemen is dire and getting even worse. Innocent people are dying every day.

"The UK Government's response has been to continue supporting the Saudi forces that are dropping the bombs, and to sell them even more weapons".

Asked whether Britain would review its arms sales in light of the deaths, a Downing Street spokesman said Saudi Arabia was a "close and important ally for Britain".

The spokesman said: "Clearly we need to know exactly what happened at the weekend and we await confirmation as to what exactly took place.

"Until we have a full assessment of the facts on the ground, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Our position on the situation and Saudi military activities in Yemen has not changed".