Saturday, 13 June 2015

13th June 2015, 10 civilians killed in residential suburb of Sanaa when Saudi led coalition airstrikes target homes

On 13th June 2015, the Saudi led coalition airstrikes hit a residential area killing 10 civilians including 3 children and 5 women, and injuring 28 more, including 11 children and 10 women.

This is Amnesty International's report of the incident:

A triple strike launched by the coalition against Beit Me’yad, a residential suburb of the capital Sana’a, on 13 June killed 10 civilians – including three children and five women, and injured 28, including 11 children and 10 women – who lived near the intended targets of the strikes.

 In one of these strikes a 2,000 lb (900 kg) bomb killed an 11-year-old boy, two of his sisters, his brother, and his 10-year-old cousin, and injured five other members of the al-‘Amiri family. The bomb, identified from the markings on fragments found at the site by Amnesty International, pulverized the house of Yahya Mohamed ‘Abdullah Saleh, a nephew of the former President ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh who has been living abroad for years, and caused extensive damage to the surrounding houses.

Most of the neighbours had fled minutes before the strike – the third in the neighbourhood in less than 10 minutes – but the al-‘Amiri family did not manage to escape on time. “We did not move fast enough,” Mohamed al-‘Amiri, who lost four of his children in the strike, told Amnesty International.

A double strike launched minutes earlier a few streets away destroyed the home of the al-Akwa family, killing 40-year-old Fatma, her two children Malek and Reem, and two of her relatives, and injuring 18 other family members and five neighbours.

Amnesty International spoke to a 12-year-old girl who suffered third-degree burns and shrapnel wounds all over her body as well as a deep cut across her face. She writhed in pain on her hospital bed as she told Amnesty International: “We were all in one room, my mum and my siblings, and the explosion happened and were all hurt. Now my mum, little brother and sister are in another hospital.” Hospital staff told Amnesty International that in fact the child’s family were killed in the strike and they would tell her imminently.

The strike missed its apparent target – Tareq Mohamed ‘Abdullah Saleh, another nephew of the former President, who owns but does not live in a nearby house which was bombed later that night. Media reports citing the Saudi-based Yemeni government’s statement that the strike had targeted and killed Tareq Mohamed ‘Abdullah Saleh turned out to be unfounded.

Beit-Me’yad (Sana’a governorate), 13 June 2015

The Saudi Arabian-led coalition bombed several houses belonging to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and some of his relatives, killing and injuring other relatives and neighbours – at times striking the intended target and at times missing the apparent intended target and striking civilians instead. A series of strikes which targeted the houses of two of the former President’s nephews on 13 June killed 10 civilians (four children, five women, and one man) and injured 28 others (11 children, 10 women, seven men) in nearby houses.

The strike which destroyed the house of Yahya Mohamed ‘Abdullah Saleh, the former President’s nephew and a former commander of the Central Security Forces (who has been outside the country for years), killed five neighbours from the al-‘Amiri family and injured five others. Two other strikes apparently aimed at his brother Tareq Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, a former commander of the Presidential Guard, missed the intended target and struck the nearby house of Tareq’s estranged relatives and other neighbours, killing five and injuring 23. Tareq’s house was struck later that night.

The first and second airstrikes hit the house of the al-Akwa family, where 23 relatives were present at the time. Hareth al-Akwa, who lost his wife Fatma (35), his daughter Reem (18) and his son Malek (8), spoke to Amnesty International about the incident:

“The whole family had relocated to Hodeidah for a whole month and we had only returned home two days before the strike, in time for Ramadan. The first airstrike killed, the second one burned. My little boy Malek, he was an angel. My daughter Hala (four) was thrown from the first floor by the force of the explosion. Luckily she fell into her grandmother’s arms downstairs. They [the coalition] said that the airstrike killed Tareq Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, my nephew, but it’s not true. In fact, Tareq came to pay his condolences. We had had no contact with him in years. We are only related through marriage. My two sisters married the brothers of [former President] Ali Abdullah Saleh. His house has been empty since the start of the airstrikes.”

‘Abdullah Mohamed al-Akwa, 24, who lost his wife Ibtihal (20) and his father Mohamed (45), told Amnesty International:

“I was on the roof turning off the generator when the first rocket struck. The explosion sent me flying onto the neighbour’s roof, around 20 metres away. My wife Ibtihal was killed while she was sleeping in our room. We had only been married for five months.”

Five neighbours from the Mahyoub family, a 52-year-old woman and four of her children, were also injured in the strike. Thyazin Mahyoub told Amnesty International:

“We were six people at home: my mother, my four siblings and I. The rocket first struck our house, destroying the third floor where the kitchen was, and then it struck the al-Akwa’s house next door. My mother, Maryam, lost her right arm and my brothers and sisters were all injured by shrapnel. I was at the far end of the house and did not suffer any injuries.”

Mohamed al-‘Amiri, who lost four children and his nephew, told Amnesty International:

“We heard the first explosion at midnight, we all went to the living room. We did not move fast enough, the strike [in front of our house] came five to eight minutes later – around 12:10AM. We were 13 family members in the house. I heard my daughter Aysha screaming from her room. She was killed … Yahya Mohamed Abdullah Saleh has not lived in his house since 2011.”

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has provided no evidence that any of the targeted houses contained legitimate military objectives, such as arm caches or command and control centres, and Amnesty International has found no evidence to that effect. The fact that two of the houses belong to relatives of former president Saleh, who previously held high-ranking military positions and who may now to be allied with the Huthis, does not make their houses military objectives.

Warning: the following videos of this incident are graphic and distressing. They are placed here as evidence to call on the UN to launch and independent inquiry and to call upon Western governments to honour the arms treaty by stopping the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

This is Mwatana's report of the incident:

Ref: 15061301

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