SANA’A, YEMEN — “Where am I?” muttered 50-year-old Ahmed Sharf al Adeini, as neighbors pulled him from the rubble of his home after it was hit by a Saudi airstrike. Al Adeini lost his wife and children in the attack and later died after succumbing to his injuries at the al Thwarah General Hospital.
Al Adeini is among at least 77 civilians — including women and children, as well as two Russian citizens — who were killed or injured in a wave of Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes on various neighborhoods of Yemen’s capital, Sana`a on early Thursday. Dozens of civilians also sustained injuries in the attacks. The son of Abdullah Sabri, the president of the Union of Yemeni Journalists, was also among the dead. The Sabri home was destroyed in the attack.
The airstrikes that targeted the home of al Ahmed Sharf al Adeini killed his entire family, including four children. The six bodies of the al Adeini family were retrieved from the rubble — a soon-to-die father, his children and his wife, all buried together. Three mentally disabled people were also reportedly killed in the attack, including a child and his father as they walked through a populated residential neighborhood that was targeted.
The airstrikes leveled parts of one neighborhood in which seven more homes were destroyed, forcing families to flee in their pajamas. “We were asleep; it was 8 a.m. when a large explosion woke us up. Airstrikes bombed our neighbor,” a local resident told MintPress.
Under dim lights and amid panicked screams, rescuers struggled to retrieve bodies from the rubble. MintPress cameras documented the rescue efforts while bystanders filmed on their phones as a victim was being pulled out from under the rubble. “So far we’ve recovered more than 10 [bodies] including four disabled people and the family of al Adeini, all of them dead,” a local resident assisting in the rescue efforts told MintPress, drenched in sweat and wearing only his underwear.
The Ministry of Public Health and Population announced in a statement on Thursday that the number of casualtiesl had risen to 77, victims of the Saudi attacks on the Raqas residential neighborhood. “After operations to recover victims and wounded from the rubble was complete, 77 were counted among the killed and wounded,” Dr. Yousef al Hadheri, spokesman of the Ministry of Health, told MintPress.
The death toll could rise due to the intensity of the strikes and the number of those who have been seriously injured, while other civilians, dead or wounded, are still trapped under the rubble.
The situation for Yemen’s healthcare sector is especially dire given that the Coalition’s blockade of Yemen has prevented medicine and other critical commodities from reaching around 8.4 million people, many of whom are believed to be on the verge of starvation.
Local outrage, no comment from U.S.
The attacks have enraged local residents, who took to the streets of Raqas to condemn the airstrikes and loss of civilian life, calling for counter-attacks on Coalition forces. Most here hold the United States responsible for the attacks, as the U.S. supplies Saudi Arabia with advanced weapons as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.
Saudi warplanes also struck a building housing Yemen’s Ministry of Information and more than 20 airstrikes struck targets in civilian areas across Sana`a on Thursday morning.
The official spokesman of Ansar Allah, the political wing of the Houthis, called the airstrikes in Sana`a a crime, and proof of the military and political failure of the Saudi forces.
The Saudi-led Coalition confirmed that its warplanes carried out airstrikes in Sana`a on Thursday. “We have begun to launch airstrikes targeting sites operated by the Houthis militia, including in Sana`a,” a Coalition official, who declined to be identified, told AFP. So far the United States has not commented on the airstrikes.
Feature photo | Rubble peppers the streets of a heavily-populated residential neighborhood in Sana’a, Yemen following a wave of Saudi airstrikes on May 16, 2019. Photo | AMC
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.