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New details emerge regarding Saada incident blamed on coalition

Published: Updated:

New details emerged regarding the August bus incident in Saada which was targeted by the Arab coalition, exposing the Houthi militias’ propaganda.

Testimonies from journalists who were close to the site of the incident in Dhahian on August 9 indicate a different scenario from that of the pro-Iranian militias.

Although both the Arab coalition backing the legitimate government in Yemen and the joint Assessment Team had confirmed back in August that the targeted bus in Saada was carrying senior members of the Houthi militias and that the only mistake was probably the timing and location. The Houthi militia and its media outlets have been exploiting the accident, falsifying the facts, and suggesting that the bus was carrying innocent children.

Jamal Muqbel al-Gharab, a member in the Yemeni Media Union which is affiliated to the Houthis, revealed new details about the incident, after he defected from the group and left the country to a safer location.

Gharab said now he was free to tell what happened that day as he “left Yemen and secured his life”, adding in a statement he posted few days ago on his Facebook page that he wanted to give his testimony on humanitarian grounds and to clear his conscience.

He said: “When I saw and heard that the Arab coalition aircraft targeted a bus carrying dozens of children in Dhahyan, in Saada, I was saddened by this incident like other thousands of Yemenis.”

The defected journalist Gharab added that he had visited the site of the incident as part of a Houthi media and human rights delegation headed by Hashim Sharaf el-Dinne, deputy Information minister in the coup government.

Gharab said: “But I found a reality different from the one promoted by the Houthi media,” as after more than two hours of investigation and the collecting of information and photos, and through the testimonies of many people and eyewitnesses and owners of neighboring shops, the bus was carrying a group of the Houthi militias, headed by Salah Faiq Mohammed al-Sabeen and Yahya Bashiri who were killed in the raid. This information, he said, is the same as already confirmed by a lot of other media colleagues, led by journalist Samia al-Aghbari at the time, and anyone can refer to her page, in reference to her Facebook account.

Also read: Coalition’s Assessment Team: Saada bus carried armed Houthis

Detailed report supported with photos soon

The Yemeni journalist said he will publish an enhanced report with pictures and testimonies later on, calling upon international organizations to investigate collected information from different independent sources not affiliated with the conflicting parties.

He also confirmed that he is fully prepared to testify before any international organization, including the United Nations Committee of Experts and Human Rights Watch.

For her part, journalist Mona Hammadi- who was part of the Houthi media delegation- revealed in a video published on Thursday, that the Houthis’ account on the incident that involoved innocent children who were inside the bus, as a fabricated story, saying the bus was carrying senior Houthi militias’ members.

The leadership of the Arab coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen, had pledged in early September and after reviewing the report of the Assessment Committee, to hold accountable those who made the mistake in the timing of launching the raid in Dhahyan in Saada province, while reaffirming its commitment to international law.

Read Also: Top official: Coalition probing collateral damage to bus during Yemen operation

The Arab coalition stressed from the beginning that the bus was carrying Houthi leaders, as confirmed by intelligence.