Survivors of First Saudi Massacre in Yemen Feel Forgotten after Four Years of War

By al-Ahed Correspondent

Sana’a – Yasser al-Habashi, father of five children was living in his own home, car and a grocery in Bani Hawat neighborhood near Sana’a International Airport when a Saudi airstrike hit his home on March 26, 2015.

Bani Hawat neighbourhood’s leader, Fayz, sits with some children on the rubble of Yaser’s home & car and the houses of the other three families on March 25, 2019 ( al-Ahed News)

Al-Habashi was living in a single-story home about 100 meters away from the eastern main gate of Sana’a International Airport. This home was among four homes targeted directly by first US-backed Saudi airstrike on Sanaa, making a tragedy for survivors who feel as forgotten as the overgrown burial ground.

Three of al-Habashi’s sons martyred, Ammar, 17, Ala’an, 14, and Aisha, her age not verified yet, were among 21 killed and 17 wounded among them his son Najmuldeen who still suffer from shrapnel and got surgery to remove some of them 6 months ago.

On the early hours of 26 March, 2015, al-Habashi came to home at 1:30 A.M., he said, and could not remember what happened after that time.

On the thresholds of four years of the US-backed Saudi war on Yemen, al-Ahed News has visited on Monday’s afternoon the scene of the first massacre that targeted this neighborhood of al-Habashi, where his family was the fourth family that was targeted.

None of the survivors among the four families still live in this neighborhood any more, for fear of being another target for the indiscriminate airstrikes of the Saudis whom US President Donald Trump once described them as don’t know how to use weapons.

Due to the bad experience, the survivors have been feeling of frustration, fear and insecurity, eating and sleeping disorders, anxiety, aggressiveness, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other behavioral problems, according to neighbors who explained why they no longer live here or refuse to speak to media.

Al-Habashi, who survived with bad wounds now lives in a rented home in Bani Hushaish district, 20 km north eastern the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.

“I was living at my own house, have my own car, work at my own grocery, then suddenly l lost all of them,” al-Habashi told al-Ahed via a phone call.

What happened?

Yasser al-Habashi was the only responsive of the four families and spoke to our website via phone, said he has not done bad to anybody and know nothing about politics, claiming there is no justification for targeting him.

He stressed he really enjoy not being involved in any kind of decision-making process or people’s lives. “I only walk to work at my grocery, then come home,” he said responding to a question if he has participated in any military actions that led to being targeted by airstrikes.

Fayz al-Swat, in his early thirties, lives at al-Balas neighborhood who works as its leader. This neighborhood is where the massacre took place. He was sitting at his living-room along with three men, solving problems of the society when al-Ahed correspondent visited him Monday afternoon.

This neighborhood is a socially excluded locality inhabited by poor and marginalized people who work in picking Khat leaf which is a stimulant that Yemenis chew and can make a person feel more alert, happy and talkative, according to authors.

Al-Sawt said this neighborhood is a peaceful and knew every person in it being member of any warring sides.

“There were no Ansarullah members here, no members of any party, all people here are farmers who look for making a living in Khat harvest,” al-Sawt said, denying there were any military targets that allow striking his neighborhood.

Al-Sawt said civilians of his locality were sleeping in peace, then at 2:15 A.M., they heard an explosion, and the season was rainy, cloudy.

“At first we thought it [the explosion] is a thunder, as it was a rainy season,” al-Sawt told al-Ahed while at his own poor home that’s about 10 meters from the targeted homes including al-Habashi home.

“We came out to see what happened, then we heard another explosion at Sana’a International Airport,” al-Sawt added.

“The electricity went out at the neighborhood, as its adapter was close to the targeted houses.”

This situation, according to al-Sawt, caused intense panic and fear among the residents of the neighborhood that witnessed huge displacement wave.

“I saw half of the neighborhood houses destroyed, or partially damaged,” al-Sawt said, adding he then took his family in his car to another house in a nearby house and returned to participate in the rescue efforts.

“I helped in pulling the sons of al-Habashi from under the ruins,” he said where four families were targeted. Survived civilians still live at houses on rent, according to al-Sawt, after they were living in their own homes.

“Yasser has become homeless and living in a house on rent,” said al-Sawt when we called Yasser by phone to attend the scene of the rubble of his home to be interviewed. Another family member declined to speak saying media did nothing for them to alleviate their sufferings while living at rental houses.

Survived

Yasser and his wife with one of two children survived with badly wounds. One of his children still suffer from shrapnel that were removed just 8 months ago, according to Yasser.

Only one of my children survived with no wounds as he was in a near-by house of a relative.

Al-Sawt said three families’ members miraculously survived. One family from Hajjah province, one child along with his sister survived. His sister is married and lives in the nearby district of Arhab of Sana’a and she was on a visit to her parents during the airstrike.

The child now is a teen, according to al-Sawt, and lives with his sister in Arhab district as he works on motorcycle.

The second family belongs to al-Jarmouzi. “This family had a special occasion when the airstrike took place. A girl came to visit her mother’s brother two weeks ahead of her wedding party. “She was killed in this airstrike and returned only on a dead body,” al-Sawt explained.

He then mentioned the third family of Mohammed al-Mualem. The father and his daughter was killed, the rest survived, he said.

Al-Sawt confirmed that when he saw such massacre and its victims were too innocent and knew they have nothing whatsoever to do with a weapons or party entanglements, he figured the aggression is criminal.

“So we then started to support Ansarullah fighters in fighting the Saudi aggression and we will stand-up as one against this aggression that threats our security and our future,” he concluded.

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