The U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition has launched over 16,000 airstrikes on Yemen, killing scores of civilians and targeting hospitals, schools, markets and shoring up support for retaliatory missile strikes on Riyadh.
SANAA, YEMEN — “What happened, where am I?” muttered 44-year-old Adel Ali Ahmed al-Gheit, as neighbors pulled him from the rubble of his home after it was targeted by a Saudi airstrike. Al-Gheit lost his wife and children in the attack and later died after succumbing to his own injuries at the Amran General Hospital.
The family was among 28 civilians, including women and children, killed or injured in Saudi airstrikes targeting a residential neighborhood in Amran, 20 km south of Sanaa, Yemen on Monday morning. The strikes leveled parts of the neighborhood, forcing families to flee in their pajamas. “We were asleep, it was 9 a.m. when a large explosion woke us up. Airstrikes bombed the house,” a local resident told MintPress.
Under dim lights and amid panicked screams, rescuers struggled to retrieve bodies from the rubble. Local news cameras documented the rescue efforts while bystanders filmed on their phones. As a victim was being pulled out from under the rubble, a rescuer could be overheard shouting to the camera, “What did this child do to deserve this?”
“So far we’ve recovered three children, one of them only a month old, as well as three women and two men, all of them dead,” a local resident assisting in the rescue efforts told MintPress, drenched in sweat and wearing only his underwear.
On Saturday, at least six civilians were killed in a separate attack, when Saudi Arabia targeted a school in the Kitaf wa al-Boqe’e district in Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada, and 21 more were killed or injured when Saudi airstrikes targeted a bus full of civilians fleeing the fighting on the main road between Zabaid and al Jah Tuesday morning.
The attacks have enraged local residents, who took to the streets in Amran to condemn the airstrikes and loss of civilian life. Carrying Kalashnikovs and calling for counter-attacks on coalition forces, they 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. “We warn the United States not to provide ongoing cover for Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen,” Mohammad Abdulsalam, a spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah, said following the attacks.
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 Sanaa. The U.S.-backed Saudi-coalition’s blockade on Yemen has also triggered an epidemic of disease and famine across the country.
A new strategy to repel U.S.-Saudi attacks on Hodieda
A barrage of ballistic missiles — including the Burcan H2, a modified Scud — targeted the Saudi Ministry of Defense Information Center, as well as other military targets, in Riyadh on Sunday. The missile strikes were the sixth on Riyadh since December and were launched in retaliation for the ongoing Saudi-coalition attacks on Yemen’s port city of Hodeida as well as Saudi strikes on civilian targets throughout Yemen, a high-ranking Houthi military official told MintPress.
According to Saudi state-run television “two ballistic missiles were intercepted over Riyadh,” but according to Reuters, at least six explosions were heard and a flash of smoke was seen in the Saudi capital. Residents of Riyadh took to Twitter, posting photos and video that seemed to confirm that the missiles had reached their targets.
A Yemeni military source told MintPress that the missiles had successfully hit their targets, adding “Saudi Patriot missiles failed and instead fired randomly before coming down on residential areas in Riyadh.” He warned that the ongoing aggression in Hodeida would be met with more defensive strikes against Saudi targets.
One Heidan resident’s reaction to news of the Yemeni strikes
Bursting with joy as he listened to a local news story recounting the missile strikes on his drive home to southern Sanaa, 29-year-old Amar Fares, a fresh-faced accountant for a local media organization, joined other commuters honking their horns in celebration. Some residents could be seen setting off fireworks to celebrate the retaliatory strikes. “I’m so happy — only missiles will deter the Saudi attacks against us,” Fares told MintPress.
Fares lost his entire family to a Saudi airstrike on his home in Heiden, northwestern Saada, in 2017. Like most Yemenis, he sees Yemen’s ballistic missile program as the last hope to deter Saudi aggression — and as a basic human right to self-defense afforded to any nation, but especially one living under the threat of daily airstrikes aginst civilian targets.
Abu Bakr Amer, who is politically opposed to the Houthis, told MintPress:
This is a national action agreed upon by all Yemenis at home and abroad; even those in the center of Riyadh find the rockets of their country a source of pride and glory.”
Yemenis consider the domestic missile program a vital component of national defense against the well-equipped Saudi and UAE military.
Houthis show no sign of ceding control
According to a high-ranking military official’s statement to MintPress, “rocket attacks will escalate in coming months and royal palaces inside Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai will be targeted.” He called on foreigners and companies to leave the cities for their own safety.
Mohammad Abdulsalam, the spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah, warned the United States and its allies in a tweet on Monday night against providing cover for Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Hodeida, saying “we are able to strike unexpected places with ballistic missiles.” He went on to say,
We’ve now developed more diverse missile systems able to be launched in a barrage … and we’ll launch missiles every day in retaliation for any attack on Hodeida. Saudi Arabia and the UAE will not be safe from Yemen’s missiles.”
The U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition has launched over 16,000 airstrikes on Yemen, killing civilians and targeting hospitals, schools, markets, and camps for the internally displaced. Yemen’s military has responded by firing salvos of missiles at military and economic targets inside Saudi Arabia, including on the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Top Photo | Neighbors and local residents pull the Adel Ali Ahmed al-Gheit, from the rubble of his home following a Saudi airstrike on a residential neighborhood in Sanaa on Monday. June 25, 2018. Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.