Saturday, 13 June 2015

13th June 2015, Saudi led coalition airstrikes hit a home killing 8 children and 2 women in al-Safra, Yemen

On 13th June 2015, Saudi led coalition airstrikes targeted a home in al-Safra, south-east of Sa'da city, killing 10 civilians (8 children and 2 women) and injuring 7 more (4 children, 2 women, 1 man).

This is Amnesty International's report of what happened:


On 13 June, coalition forces killed eight children and two women from the al-Sailami family and injured seven other relatives, four children, two women and a man, when they bombed their home in al-Safra, a village south-east of Sa’da city at around 12.30pm.

At the ruins of the house, on the northern edge of the village, Abdullah Ahmed Yahya al-Sailami, whose one-year-old son was killed in the strike, told Amnesty International that he was praying at the nearby mosque with the other men from the family when he heard the bombing and ran back to find a scene of indescribable horror:
“We [the men] were at the mosque at noon prayers, 20 meters from the house. There were 19 people in the house when it was bombed. All but one were women who were not associated with the fighting and children. The children who would usually be playing outside during the day were in the house, because it was lunchtime. They were all killed or injured. One of the dead was a 12-day-old baby, Abdelhakim, and his mother Wafaa, 17. Then we found Sefiya’s body at the entrance of the house, where she was sitting with her two children, three-year-old Youssef and 18-month-old Zahra. All three were killed. It took us three days to dig out their body parts. Youssef was torn to shreds.”

Mohammed, another relative who took part in the rescue after the airstrike, told Amnesty International:

“‘Aqil still had his dummy [pacifier] in his mouth when we pulled him out of the rubble, dead. He was only one year old. That day was his first birthday. Mohammed was 14 months; we found him and his sister Mariam, six, dead in the rubble. When we dug Baraa’, and her sister Juhaina out of the rubble, Juhaina was still alive but she died a few days later, on the first day of Ramadan. She was seven, and Baraa’ was four. The youngest survivor is Abdelmalik, who is only six months old. We found him in the arms of his grandmother Aisha; she folded her body over his and protected him. He was unharmed. She was also injured but thankfully survived. Why on earth did the Saudis bomb our home? This is a farm, we are civilians. There were only women and children. My cousin Ahmad was the only man in the house. He wasn’t feeling well so he did not come to the mosque, but was praying in his room when the house was bombed. When we pulled him from the rubble, injured, he was still praying.”

Amnesty International visited the site three weeks after the airstrike and found at the ruins of the house many items that would normally be found in a civilian house – children’s toys, books, clothes, cooking utensils and furniture. No sign of weapons or other military ware were found in or around the house. Amnesty International did not find any information to suggest that the male residents, who were all, except one, not in the house at the time of the strike, were fighters. At best, this attack demonstrates reckless disregard for the lives of civilians. If the attackers had information that fighters were present, they had a duty to take steps to verify their presence and to ascertain who else was in the house. If necessary precautions had been taken the attack would have been cancelled due to the fact that only civilians were present.

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