GHAFRA, YEMEN — A wedding day anywhere in the world is supposed to be a happy day for couples and their families celebrating a new shared life. But in Yemen, wedding days often mark the end of life.
“My daughter died … Oh my God.. help me,” shouted a woman in her 70s, tears flowing steadily from her face as she yelled and shook her daughter who was killed when Saudi airstrikes bombed a home in Ghafra, north of Saada, during a wedding party on Tuesday. Women and children were gathered at the home of Ahmed Jaber Jarmani to celebrate his daughter’s wedding when the bombing took place, killing 11 women and children who were attending the party.
The bodies of the women and children were pulled out of the rubble of Jermani’s home ensconced in blankets and still wrapped in their traditional wedding clothes. Attendees of the wedding watched for hours as the bodies were recovered. “I stood rooted to this spot as the warplane targeted the house; it was a known to be used as a place of ceremony,” a 32-year-old witness told MintPress.
Rescue efforts were complicated by fears of additional strikes, as Saudi warplanes continued to circle the area after the initial strikes.
“Saudi airstrikes hit the house at 9:00 pm; we tried to rescue the women and children but couldn’t because warplanes were still flying around,” Adel, a 25-year-old resident told Mintpress.
“The next morning we pulled six children and four women out the rubble”
The death toll is expected to rise, as 11 wedding attendees who were rescued from the rubble are still in critical condition. Another woman was killed in a separate incident when Saudi aircraft struck a residential building in nearby Haidan, causing extensive damage.
On the same day, Saudi fighter jets also carried out 10 airstrikes against residential buildings and farming lands in the Baqim district of Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada. At the same time, Saudi warplanes launched four air raids against Kitaf and al-Boqe’e district in the same Yemeni province.
Saudi attacks increasing in frequency
The frequency of wedding-day attacks committed by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition seems to be on the rise. On April 23, a wedding ceremony in Yemen’s Hajjah was targeted by Saudi airstrikes, killing 50 civilians and injuring an additional 55.
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, has slammed the “carnage” of over 2,200 children during the ongoing war in Yemen, warning that millions of other children are currently suffering the agonies of the humanitarian crises in the country.
“The relentless conflict in Yemen has pushed a country already on the brink deep into the abyss,” she added in a statement to journalists in Geneva on Tuesday. In addition to the more than 2,200 children killed since the conflict began three years ago, at least 3,400 others have been injured or maimed.Over 600,000 civilians have been killed or injured in Yemen since the Saudi-coalition began its attacks in 2015 according to Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights based in Sana’a. The U.S.-backed Saudi-coalition’s blockade on Yemen has also triggered an epidemic of disease and famine across the country.
Top Photo | The home of Ahmed Jaber Jarmani after it was destroyed by Saudi airstrikes during a wedding ceremony. 22 wedding goers were killed or injured in the attack, July 5, 2018. Photo | Courtesy
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.