In a week of deadly airstrikes and civilian deaths, Saudi Arabia adds school bus and 50 Yemeni children to the list
The late morning sun conspired with a cloudless blue sky to picturesquely frame the city of Dhahian in southern Saada province. Suddenly the serenity was broken by the loud piercing shriek of fighter jets over the quiet village, followed by a deafening explosion. When the thick black smoke finally began to dissipate, more than 20 mothers discovered a school bus carrying their children had been transformed into a hellish scene: choking dust, smoldering shops, and the charred corpses of children buried under the mangled school bus. Anguished moans and screams of grief and pain filled the air.
At a bed in the Jomhouri Hospital in Saada, four-year-old Mohammed was receiving first aid when he came to the realization that he was still alive but that more than 35 of his classmates, older and younger, lay dead in beds near him as if they were asleep. Others were lying in torn, blood-stained clothing along with school bags, fighting death in the same room.
Mohammed was one of the 80 civilians wounded on Thursday in fresh U.S.-Saudi strikes that targeted a school bus carrying children to summer camp on Dhahian’s outskirts in Yemen’s northwestern province of Saada.
It was 8:30 a.m. when the explosion shattered the day. “What did these children do to deserve this?” a 32-year-old witness to the strike asked. Abdul-Ghani Nayeb, the head of the Health Department in Saada told MintPress more than 50 were killed and over 80 others were wounded as a result of the strike. Some were shoppers and passers-by, but most were children.
The owner of a nearby restaurant, Zaid Hussein Deib, cried out, “they were not Iranian experts,” as he scrambled past overturned plastic white tables and splintered blue tiles. “They were children; they were not carrying ballistic missiles.” Deib lost two sons in the attack.
The death toll is expected to rise, as many victims of the strike remain in critical condition and hospitals struggle to cope with a lack of medical supplies as a result of a Saudi coalition-imposed siege that began in 2015. The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of Yemen has prevented medicine and other critical commodities from reaching around 8.4 million people. Al-Jomhouri hospital, already crowded with a number of wounded from previous airstrikes, has launched an urgent appeal for Yemeni citizens to donate blood.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement that the school bus was indeed carrying children. Johannes Bruwer, head of the delegation for the ICRC in Yemen, said in a tweet that most of the victims were under the age of 10.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO - Video shows the aftermath of the airstrike