Residents of Yemeni capital have nowhere to hide from airstrikes
Sanaa, Jan 19 (EFE).- Fear has been a constant in Ahmad al Hashedi’s life since Yemen’s conflict began nearly eight years ago, but this week’s airstrikes on Sanaa by the Saudi-led coalition have pushed him and his family to a breaking point.
“It’s no longer safe to live here,” the 36-year-old told Efe as he walked amid the rubble of what used to be an apartment building where the family made their home.
The building was destroyed Monday night when bombs fell on the military academy across the street in the bloodiest aerial attack in four years.
At least 14 people were killed in strikes described as retaliation by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for a drone attack on Abu Dhabi by Yemen’s Houthi rebels that left three dead.
Ahmad’s wife and one of the couple’s two daughters were wounded Monday night, struck by shrapnel that ripped through the windows and walls of the apartment building.
“They ruined our lives and puts us in the street,” al Hashedi said.
One of the other tenants, nurse Omar al Abadi, recalls arriving home exhausted at a long shift at the hospital minutes before the bombing began.
“The shrapnel and the debris fell on us like a torrential rain. We ran to the basement after the first incursion,” he told Efe, adding that he had felt safe living alongside the military academy because it had already been bombed “dozens of times” and was – he thought – unlikely to be targeted again.
Until Monday night, Walid Saleh, 30, was the owner of a small neighborhood shop across the street from the apartment building.
“I closed a half-hour before the bombardment and thank God, I had left my store,” he said while showing Efe the marks left by shrapnel on the freezer.
“If I had been sitting here, they would have destroyed me,” Saleh said, though he added: “No place can be considered safe.”
Before dawn Wednesday, Saudi and UAE warplanes carried out another dozen airstrikes on Sanaa.
The United Nations describes the situation in Yemen as the greatest humanitarian catastrophe on the planet, with more than 80 percent of the population dependent on aid for their survival. EFE