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20 May, 2015 05:26

Saudi bomb on your sofa? Yemen civilians narrowly avoid death as failed shell dropped on house (PHOTO)

Dozens of residents of Yemeni’s capital avoided likely injuries or death after a bomb, thought to be dropped by the Saudi-led coalition, fell into a residential block but failed to explode. A witness told RT the strike targeted a civilian-only area.

READ MORE: Saudis resume airstrikes on Yemen following five-day humanitarian ceasefire

Only a day after the brief “humanitarian ceasefire” ended in Yemen, residents of a densely populated neighborhood in central Sanaa barely escaped death as a huge 1.5-meter shell came crashing through the ceiling of an apartment, shattering walls and furniture.

Terrified locals rushed to the house to examine the scene after the shell apparently failed to detonate. Surreal pictures of a bomb lying almost intact on what could have been a sofa were posted by witnesses on Twitter.

سقط صباح اليوم صاروخ ألقته طيران العدوان السعودي الأمريكي على أحدالمنازل في حي حدةبالعاصمةصنعاءإلاأن الصاروخ لم ينفجر pic.twitter.com/Sf0aMU4xYw

— حامد البخيتي (@hamedalbukhiti) May 19, 2015

RT contacted a witness called Hussein Al-Bukhiti, who said the shell landed in an apartment block close to where he lives while it was full of people.

“It’s a totally civilian neighborhood, there isn’t any army [facilities] or anti-aircraft guns in that area,”
Al-Bukhiti stressed, saying that if the bomb had exploded, there would have been “hundreds” of casualties, mostly women and children.

An image courtesy of Twitter user @hamedalbukhiti

There are no bomb shelters in the area, so the only place Yemeni civilians can seek shelter during air raids are their homes, Al-Bukhiti explained.

The incident took place amid renewed air raids against the Shiite Houthi rebels launched by Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen, and has been blamed on the coalition by the locals.

According to Al-Bukhiti, “the Saudi aggression is targeting all the country despite the fact there’re 25 million people living in Yemen… You can tell from the high number of casualties among civilians that they’re attacking everything in Yemen.” He described the incessant strikes that have been shaking Sanaa “every day, if not every hour” since March 26, except for the period of the recent five-day ceasefire.

However, he added that the coalition did not heed the ceasefire elsewhere, with the northern Saada province, a Houthi stronghold, coming under fire daily.

The witness has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes: “The only thing that they had [done] in [Saada capital] Sadah, is that they dropped leaflets and they asked all the people of Saada province to leave the whole province as it would be declared a military target and every place would be targeted. This is a crime against humanity because how can you ask 1 million people to leave after having a blockade of two months, where people have no fuel to use their cars, where all the bridges, all the roads across the country have been destroyed. There is no way for many people to go or to take shelter because every area is targeted.”

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia moves ‘strike force’ to border with Yemen as truce nears – report

The strikes resumed despite a UN plea to extend the ceasefire for further delivery of food, fuel and medicine to the devastated regions of Yemen. Hundreds fled the worst affected districts of Sanaa, while coalition warplanes pummeled rebel-held military depots and positions. Airstrikes also targeted the southern city of Aden, where forces loyal to the ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have been fighting with the Houthis and loyalists of the former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

According to UN humanitarian agency UNHCR, 1,849 people had been killed and 7,394 others had been injured in the Yemeni conflict as of May 15.

With Saudi Arabia training anti-Houthi fighters on the Yemeni border, despite promising a commitment to a diplomatic solution to the crisis and UN-brokered talks, Sanaa residents fear the worst-case scenario of street battles and complete devastation will soon be upon them.

“Soon Sanaa will be like Aden and Taiz…There has been a big build-up since before the ceasefire and I think now there will be a big fight,” a tribesman from the central province of Ibb told the Financial Times.

Reports suggest that a conservative Sunni military leader, Major General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, has become a major figure in the Saudi-sponsored anti-Houthi force. Al-Ahmar, who is referred to as an Islamist, is believed to have been a chief orchestrator in planning the military campaign in Yemen, raising concerns that Islamists would take over the power in the Gulf country, should the ground operation against the Houthis prove to be successful.

READ MORE: ‘US closing eyes to Saudi atrocities – sign of extraordinary hypocrisy for Iranians’