Yemen rebel strike claims first civilian casualty in Saudi capital

An Egyptian labourer died in his bed when shrapnel ripped into his ramshackle Riyadh room, the first known fatality in a Yemeni rebel attack on the Saudi capital.

Published: 26th March 2018 09:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2018 09:20 PM   |  A+A-

In this Jan. 3, 2017, file photo, newly recruited Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, mobilize to fight pro-government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen. | AP


RIYADH: An Egyptian labourer died in his bed when shrapnel ripped into his ramshackle Riyadh room, the first known fatality in a Yemeni rebel attack on the Saudi capital.

Today, a gaping hole in the roof and scattered piles of concrete debris were all that remained of the small room which Abdul-Moteleb Ahmed shared with other labourers.

Witnesses said a burning shrapnel pierced through the low-slung building in Riyadh's Um Al-Hammam district, killing Ahmed, a 38-year-old father of two, just before midnight when Iran-aligned Huthi rebels fired a barrage of missiles at Riyadh.

"He was the father of two young children and the sole breadwinner of his family," an Egyptian who said he was Ahmed's roommate told AFP, standing amid wrecked wrought iron furniture, an upturned television and littered clothing.

"How will his family survive without him?".

Three other Egyptians in the same room were wounded and hospitalised, witnesses said.

Saudi authorities said one Egyptian had been killed and two others wounded.

Authorities by Monday had collected all evidence of shrapnel from the site, residents said.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed and 53,000 wounded since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemeni government's fight against the Huthi rebels, triggering what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

But the war -- which entered its fourth year on Monday -- is also spilling into Saudi territory, with dozens of Huthi missile attacks since last year which have affected not only border towns and villages but also the capital Riyadh.

A major attack targeting Riyadh international airport on November 4 triggered the tightening of a longstanding Saudi-led blockade of Yemen -- already on the verge of famine.

Another strike on December 19 targeted Riyadh's Yamamah palace, the official residence of King Salman.

But Ahmed, who residents say had been working in Riyadh as a daily wage labourer for around a year and a half, is the first civilian reported to be killed in the capital from the strikes.

"He was a poor man trying to make an honest living," his roommate said, adding he narrowly survived as he was on the rooftop when the shrapnel smashed into the house.

Residents in Riyadh reported loud explosions and bright flashes in the sky shortly before midnight.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said Huthi rebels fired three missiles at Riyadh and four others at the southern cities of Khamis Mushait, Jizan and Najran, claiming they were all intercepted and destroyed.

The rebels confirmed they had fired seven missiles.


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