In the densely populated area of Sa’wan northeast of Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a, a clouded sky framed the picturesque district as students, including Maha, listened to an announcement that, because of the fear of cholera spreading, their school would no longer be providing students with lunch. With the noon hour approaching, the picturesque sky would soon turn blood red as a Saudi aircraft bombarded the area with a barrage of airstrikes.
A few minutes later, a deafening explosion echoed throughout Sa’wan and, when the thick black smoke finally began to dissipate, chaos, moans and screams filled the grounds outside of the school. “Do not worry, you will be fine,” a paramedic assured the first casualty he stumbled upon. Her name was Maha Melhah Jar Allah, a fifth-grade girl who took her last breath as she was being transferred into an ambulance.
Maha was one of at least 14 schoolchildren who were killed, along with at least 104 injured, when Saudi airstrikes targeted a factory in close proximity to schools, homes, and shops in Sa’wan on Sunday morning.
“At 11:30 a.m., Saudi warplanes targeted a neighborhood containing the public Al-Ra’i school and the Al-Ahqaf school, a private school, killing dozens of students,” Yemen Minister of Education Yahya Badr al-Din al-Houthi told MintPress. “The Saudi Coalition committed this crime with American missiles.”
“Everyone was hysterical, some were crying and shouting in panic,” said Fatehiya Kahlani, principal of Al-Ra’i. “The situation was horrible, as the school has 2,100 students.” Al-Ra’i was badly damaged in the airstrike and many students and teachers were left with injuries from broken glass. The streets around the schools have been transformed into a hellish scene, as many homes and shops were partially destroyed in the attack.