A mass funeral in the northern Yemeni city of Saada on August 13 for children killed in an air strike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. Photo: AFP

The Saudi-led coalition fighting insurgents in Yemen admitted on Saturday that “mistakes” were made in an air strike that killed 40 children in August.

The Red Cross said the attack on a bustling market in a Huthi rebel-held part of northern Yemen killed a total of 51 people.

Fifty-six children were also among the 79 people injured in the August 9 strike on Saada province, a stronghold of the Huthis bordering Saudi Arabia, AFP reported.

The incident sparked international outrage and demands by the United Nations Security Council that a “credible and transparent” investigation be carried out.

Coalition spokesman Mansour al-Mansour said a probe had determined that mistakes were made before the attack, and said those responsible should be “punished.”

He told reporters in Riyadh that “an order had been given not to target the bus, which was among civilians, but the order arrived late.”

Another mistake was that “the target did not pose an immediate threat and that targeting the bus in a residential area was unjustified at that time,” he said.

The coalition had initially claimed that it had targeted a bus carrying insurgents.

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