Alwaght- American news network CNN confirmed the bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition to strike a school bus in Yemen, which killed 51 civilians including 40 children, was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
CNN cited munitions experts as saying that the weapon massacred Yemeni children dead on August 9 in Saada province was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.
The image of the missile fragment, which was among those that scored a direct hit on the school bus traveling through Dahyan market, was first time uploaded by Sanaa-based journalist Hussain Albukhaiti and quickly spread online over the weekend. The prominent Yemeni journalist who throughout the war has been instrumental in getting images and information out of the country ahead of Western journalists has photographed and examined fragments from one of the exploded missiles found at the site of the US-backed Saudi-led coalition airstrike.
The bomb is very similar to the one that wreaked devastation in an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen in October 2016 in which 155 people were killed and hundreds more wounded. The Saudi coalition blamed "incorrect information" for that strike, admitted it was a mistake and took responsibility.
In March of that year, a strike on a Yemeni market -- this time reportedly by a US-supplied precision-guided MK 84 bomb -- killed 97 people.
In the aftermath of the funeral hall attack, former US President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia over "human rights concerns."
The ban was overturned by the Trump administration's then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March 2017.
Arms sales to Saudi Arabia have repeatedly been condemned by human rights organizations, who view them as one of the main contributing factors to the skyrocketing death toll in the war-torn country.
More than 15,000 people have been killed in more three years of aggression on already-impoverished Yemen, while the Saudi Arabian blockade continues to contribute has the Arab country on the brink of famine.
The US says it does not make targeting decisions for the coalition, but supports its operations through billions of dollars in arms sales, the refueling of Saudi combat aircraft and some sharing of intelligence.
The bomb's impact as it landed on the bus full of excited schoolchildren on a day trip was devastating.
Of the 51 people who died in the airstrike, 40 were children, Yemeni Health Minister Taha al-Mutawakil said last week. He added that of the 79 people wounded, 56 were children.
"I saw the bomb hit the bus," one witness told CNN. "It blew it into those shops and threw the bodies clear to the other side of those buildings. We found bodies scattered everywhere, there was a severed head inside the bomb crater. When we found that, that was when I started running. I was so afraid."
Some of the bodies were so mutilated that identification became impossible. Left behind were scraps of schoolbooks, warped metal and a single backpack.
Munitions experts said the numbers on this piece of shrapnel confirmed that Lockheed Martin was the maker of the bomb.
Munitions experts confirmed that the numbers on it identified Lockheed Martin as its maker and that this particular MK 82 was a Paveway, a laser-guided bomb.
Saudi Arabia denies targeting civilians and defended the incident as a "legitimate military operation".
During the State Department's daily press briefing at the end of last week, spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked point blank by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, whether the US condemns the attack.
It resulted in a drawn out testy exchange, but Matt Lee laid out the case for direct US complicity in the attack on the bus packed with children: "The Saudis obviously are the ones who conducted this, but they do that with weapons supplied by the U.S., with training supplied by the U.S., and with targeting information, targeting data, supplied by the U.S. How can something like this happen?" he said.
Not only did Nauert refuse to say the US condemned the attack, but wouldn't so much as agree to simply call for an independent investigation into the incident (she called only for a Saudi-led inquiry) which killed at least 29 children and has resulted in the United Nations launching an independent probe.
The United Nations has called for a separate investigation into the strike, one of the deadliest since Yemen's war began in early 2015.
The US, alongside the UK and France, is a major supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia.
Trump signed a nearly $110 billion arms sale deal with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in May last year in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on what was his first stop abroad as President.
In the same month, the US government reauthorized the export of Paveway munitions to Saudi Arabia, ending Obama's December 2016 ban.