Yemeni Archive
Yemeni Archive


A Drone Attack on Al-Sharjah Village in Al-Hudaydah Governorate

May 17, 2024

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Incident Summary

  • Incident: The killing of three children and the injury of another in the Al-Sharjah Village
  • Location: Al-Sharjah Village in Al-Jarahi District, Al-Hudaydah
  • Date: 24 January 2023
  • Time: Likely before 09:30 local time
  • Victims: Three children killed, and one child injured
  • Potential munition: Unknown
  • Potentially Responsible: Saudi-led coalition


On Tuesday, 24 January 2023, local news outlets and social media accounts reported a likely drone strike in the Al-Sharjah area, located in the Al-Jarahi District southeast of Al Hudaydah Governorate. The attack resulted in the deaths of three children—two girls from the same family and a boy—and injured another boy, all under the age of 13. The parties involved exchanged accusations and held differing opinions regarding responsibility for the attack; however, investigative findings suggest that the Saudi-led coalition may be the perpetrator.


This section contains graphic content, including descriptions of the killing of children in the attack. Audiovisual content may not be linked in this section of the investigation because of its graphic content and depiction of human remains. If you would like to request access to an unredacted version, please email requests@yemeniarchive.org.


Yemeni Archive investigated the incident based on:

  • Yemeni Archive collected and verified 54 shared open sources about the incident, mainly from pro-Ansar Allah Houthis sources because of limited online open source information available at this time.
  • Collecting, preserving, and analyzing videos, photos, and reports across social media platforms and news outlets. This content related to the incident and its aftermath (e.g. funerary arrangements, physical destruction, etc.), regional context including recent military activity in the area, as well as information on responsibility for the attack.
  • Determining the date and time of the attack via advanced Twitter searches to trace the first tweet about the incident, supported by the findings of TweetedAt which uses reverse-engineering to indicate the exact timing of the post as well as conducting shadow analysis to corroborate the estimated time of the incident.
  • Assessing the extent of the damage caused by the incident.
  • Considering the competing narratives about the alleged perpetrator that emerged from various actors including local media, government personnel, non-profit organizations, and witness statements.

About the area

The village of Al-Sharjah is located in Al-Jarahi District southeast of Al Hudaydah Governorate in western Yemen. The image below shows the 26 different districts in Al Hudaydah Government.

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Screenshot of a map showing the administrative divisions - the Al-Jarahi district is traced with a blue color - of Al-Hudaydah governorate. Captured by Yemeni Archive on 25 April 2024.

Although the Al-Jarahi District is under the control of Ansar Allah Houthi forces, it is also considered to be relatively close to the front line.

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A screenshot from LiveuaMap website showing the estimated military forces’ control points in Al-Jarahi District and the surrounding areas on 24 January 2023. Al-Sharjah area is shown under the red area. Red is under the control of the Ansar Allah Houthi forces, Blue is under the control of the Joint Forces on the west coast supported by the Saudi-led coalition. Illustrations were created by Yemeni Archive. Screenshot captured by Yemeni Archive on 17 April 2024.

The Al-Jarahi District is located within the protected areas established by the Al-Hudaydah Agreement between the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Ansar Allah Houthi movement. This agreement was reached following negotiations in Stockholm, Sweden, under the United Nations’ auspices on 13 December 2018. It is supported by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2534, which authorized the United Nations Mission to Support the Al-Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) to assist in its implementation.

Nearly a year after the agreement, news emerged that the first ceasefire point was established on Fifty Street in the Al-Khameri area at the eastern entrance to Al Hudaydah—a significant hotspot between government forces and the Houthis. Plans were underway to establish additional ceasefire points in Al-Saleh city, Hawsh al-Abqa, and the Manzar area south of Al Hudaydah.

On 20 February 2020, the Al Riyah website reported that liaison officers in the Al Hudaydah governorate had agreed to cease all military activities in the Hays district and stop attacks on monitoring points. Moreover, the agreement prohibits all forms of aircraft from flying and requires the cessation of airstrikes, ensuring a commitment to a ceasefire across all fronts and districts of Al Hudaydah. Despite the ceasefire agreement, areas in Al-Hudaydah continue to experience shelling from both the Ansar Allah Houthi forces and Saudi-led coalition.

The incident

On the morning of Tuesday, 24 January 2023, social media accounts and several news outlets shared news of a drone attack in Al Sharjah village that resulted in the killing of three children and the injury of another child in Al-Sharjah Village. Reports pointed to a drone belonging to the Joint Forces as potentially responsible for the incident. The Saba Yemeni News Agency channel on Telegram - an affiliate of the Yemeni News Agency—shared a graphic video from after the incident. The video begins by showing a girl who appears to be lifeless on the ground with her face covered with blood. It then moves to show another girl, also seeming lifeless and face down, a couple of meters away from the first.

The video then shows two children’s bodies together on a bed, with an adult stating they are just normal kids who were looking for milk to have for breakfast.

The video moves on to show footage from the hospital, featuring an interview with a witness stating that the incident in Al-Sharjah involved an attack on homes where two girls and a boy, all under the age of 10 years old, were killed.

The video continues to show footage of the deceased boy, followed by an interview with an official at the hospital. The hospital official states that the children, a girl and a boy, were pronounced dead upon arrival on Tuesday 24 January 2023 at around 09:30 local time.

According to local broadcaster and journalist Mohammad Mauday’s news report, which includes graphic footage from the aftermath, two sisters and a boy were on their way to search for milk for breakfast when they were attacked by a drone. In another part of Mohammad Mauday’s report, the names and ages of the victims are mentioned. Additionally, the victims were reportedly transferred to Al-Jarahi Rural Hospital and Zabid Hospital, where their conditions were documented upon arrival.

Another video shared by the Al-Masirah Telegram channel—a Yemeni TV channel that appears to be founded and owned by the Ansarullah movement—from the hospital included an interview with the father of the deceased boy. In the interview, he stated that a drone attack killed his son and two neighbor girls in Al Sharjah. The video also shared footage of an injured child receiving treatment in the hospital.

The remainder of the video shows the children covered in shrouds.

Based on footage shared in online videos at the incident site, the locals in Al-Sharjah Village appear to primarily live in huts as shown in the images below.

Social media accounts continued to share news the following day about the killing of three children and the injury of another as a result of the attack.

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Screenshot from a video shared by Al-Masirah Telegram channel showing the type of homes locals in Al-Sharjah village appear to live in. Screenshot was captured by Yemeni Archive on 30 March 2024.

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Screenshot from a video shared on the official Mujahideen Telegram page showing the type of home the locals live in. Captured by Yemeni Archive 31 March 2024.

The date and time of the attack

Photos and videos shared online about the Al Sharjah incident suggest it took place during daylight hours on Tuesday 24 January 2023. An advanced search on Twitter showed that the first tweet regarding the incident was published by Al-Masirah - Urgent. The tweet mentioned that three children were killed and another was injured as a result of the aircraft shelling Al-Sharjah Village in Al-Jarahi district. The TweetedAt tool shows the post was published on 24 January 2023 at 13:26 local time.

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Screenshot from TweetAt’s data extraction from Al-Masirah - Urgent tweet, the first account of the incident, showing that it was posted on 24 January 2023 at 10:26:35 GMT (13:26:35 local time). Image captured on 23 March 2024

In addition to the tweets mentioned above, a video posted on social media features an interview from the hospital with an individual who stated that the children arrived deceased at around 09:30. Taking into consideration the timing of the first tweet about the incident and the statement from the individual in the hospital, Yemeni Archive did the following shadow analysis to better estimate the timing of the incident.

To determine the timing of the incident, the Yemeni Archive analyzed the shadow of the milk bottle that can be seen upright near the victim in a video showing the aftermath of the attack.

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Screenshot from the video shared on Almujahidin Official page on Telegram. The measures were added by Yemeni Archive to better determine the length of the shadow relative to the milk bottle. Image captured by Yemeni Archive on 25 March 2024.

By analyzing the pixel coordinates, the height of the milk bottle in the image is approximately 55 pixels, and the length of its shadow is about 50 pixels. Given this close ratio (a shadow length to object height ratio of approximately 50/55 or roughly 0.91), the sun’s elevation angle is slightly less than 45 degrees, since a 45-degree angle would give us a ratio of 1 (where the shadow length equals the object height).

With this in mind, and knowing solar noon in Yemen on the date of the incident was 12:20 PM, when the sun’s elevation would be at its maximum for the day, the time at which the photo was taken can be estimated. Considering the sun’s elevation angle is slightly less than 45 degrees, the statement from the individual interviewed at the hospital about the children arriving around 09:30 local time, and the first report of the attack posted at 13:26 local time, the incident most likely occurred at a time earlier than solar noon. Using the difference in shadow length and the object’s height to refine previous calculations, it is estimated the time of the incident is likely before 12:30 local time and potentially before 09:30 local time.

To get an accurate estimate, this pixel ratio would need to be translated into an actual sun elevation angle using trigonometry and then calculated to the corresponding time from that angle. Another possibility is to use the SunCalc tool where—with the exact location of the milk bottle provided—the time could be calculated based on the angle of the shadow. However, as described below, the exact location of this attack could not be assessed with the information available at this time. Given these factors, while we can say the time is earlier than 09:30, Yemeni Archive could not determine the exact time of the incident and any specific time given has a margin of error.

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Screenshot from dateandtime.info showing the solar noon at Al Hudaydah on 24 January 2023. Image was captured by Yemeni Archive on 25 March 2024.

Geographic Location

Based on the news that was circulated by Eye of Humanity Center for Rights and Development on Facebook - an independent center focused on documenting the crimes of aggression in Yemen, it was suggested the incident took place in Al-Sharjah Village, located in the Al-Jarahi District of Hudaydah Governorate. Yemeni Archive searched navigating mapping systems such as OpenStreetMap, Bing, Google, and GeoHack, but was unable to exactly identify the location of Al-Sharjah Village. Additionally, Yemeni Archive consulted with a Yemeni local expert regarding the geographic location of the incident.

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Screenshot of Al Jarrahi town from google earth located at 14.1245014,43.3580148. Image was captured by Yemeni Archive on 31 March 2024.

It’s important to mention that in some reports about the attack, the Al-Sharjah village was referred to as an Al-Sharjah area. A news report shared by Yemen Press Agency said that the incident took place in Dakam and Al-Broodi villages in the Al-Sharjah area. This report matches what the local Yemeni expert we consulted suggested about the area.

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Screenshot of Al Burdui village in the Al-Jarahi District. Image captured by Yemeni Archive on 03 April 2024.

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The top a screenshot from Google Earth Pro Showing the geographical and structural area in comparison to a screenshot - at the bottom - taken from a video filmed at the incident. The red circles indicate the huts seen on the screenshot from Google Earth Pro and were added by Yemeni archive on 17 April 2024. Captured by Yemeni Archive on 03 April 2024.

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Screenshot from Google Earth Pro showing the area claimed to be Al-Sharjah, the red rectangle added by Yemeni Archive on 03 April 2024. Image captured by Yemeni Archive on 03 April 2024.

Comparing the Al-Sharjah area on Google Maps with the frontline on 24 January 2023 on LiveUMap places the reported Al-Sharjah area in very close proximity to the frontline. This suggests the impacted area may be inside the red rectangle added by Yemeni Archive to the image above.

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At the top, a screenshot from Google Earth Pro shows the location of the Al-Sharjah area between the Al Jarrahi District and the Hays District in comparison with the LiveuaMap screenshot, which shows the distance of the Al-Sharjah area to the frontline. Blue boxes were added by Yemeni Archive on 17 April 2024. Screenshots are captured by Yemeni Archive 04 April 2024.

Given the geographical features of the area and its proximity to the frontline, Yemeni Archive suggests that the incident may have taken place in the Al-Sharjah area, as indicated by the red square on the map, but could not determine the exact location of the incident.

Potential munitions used

Yemen Channel, Alainpress, Almsira, and Yahya Al Osta circulated news about the incident suggesting that a drone from the Saudi-led coalition attacked Al-Sharjah Village and killed three children and injured another. The reports did not specify any other information about the type of weapon that was used.

A news report shared online featured footage of a drone, which was said to belong to the Saudi-led coalition. Yemeni Archive could not verify the footage used in the video if it was from the Al Sharjah attack or not.

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A screenshot from a video shared by Almujahidin Official page on Telegram. The picture shows what appears to be a drone. Image captured by Yemeni Archive on 31 March 2024.

According to the RUSI website, a website that profiles the Armed Drones in the Middle East stated that despite Saudi having one of the largest and most advanced air forces in the Arab world, Saudi has made relatively few purchases of armed drones, which was purchased from China. Also, Saudi has revealed ambitious intentions to produce its own armed drones with support from the Chinese, and China agreed to build a drone manufacturing plant inside the Kingdom capable of producing CH-4 and possibly the next-generation CH-5.

Additionally, it was shared on RUSI and Arms Transfer Database that Saudi Arabia operates two different types of drones, the CH-4A & CH-4B Rainbow and the Wing Loong I & II, a smaller version of the CH-4 along with the types of weapons that could possibly be equipped on them.

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Two screenshots suggest the drones Saudi Arabia is using in its campaign in Yemen. On the left side is a CH-4(D/E) and on the right side is a side view of Wing Loong II, captured by Yemeni Archive on 31 March 2024.

When comparing the drone image from the video with the drone images above, it suggests that one of the two types could have been used in the incident. However, due to the limited open-source information available online and the absence of any remnants of weapon found, Yemeni Archive couldn’t determine the specific type of drone or weapon that was used in this incident.

This is not the first incident where a Saudi drone was reportedly found in Yemeni airspace. In April 2019, news circulated on Twitter about Saudi Arabia losing a CH-4 drone over Yemen. Images of the remnants of the drone were spread widely online.

Additionally, in a previous investigation, Yemeni Archive documented an incident on 23 May 2022, between 20:50 and 20:54 local time. Where a Chinese-designed CH-4B UAV crashed into a street crowded with civilians near the Al-Rowaishan roundabout in Amanat Al-Asimah Governorate. As a result, three civilians were killed, and three others were injured, including women and a young man of Syrian nationality.

Physical damage

In addition to the death of three children and the injury of a fourth, a video shared on the Al-Masirah Telegram channel shows a cow injured as a result of the incident. The image below shows what appear to be cuts on the back of the cow, likely caused by shrapnel.

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A screenshot from a video shared by the Almasirah Telegram channel shows a cow sustaining an injury from the incident. Green box illustrations were created by Yemeni Archive on 17 April 2024. The screenshot was captured by Yemeni Archive on 30 March 2024.

At this time of the investigation Yemeni Archive couldn’t determine if the attack had caused other physical damage to the area due to the limited visual open source information.

Allegedly responsible

On 24 January 2023, Open source information shared about the incident that killed three children and injured another in Al-Sharjah Village pointed to a drone belonging to the Saudi-led coalition as responsible for the incident.

In interviews conducted with parents and local residents, all indicate that a drone belonging to the Saudi Arabian forces was responsible for the incident. The Ministry of Human Rights in Yemen—the Ministry of Human Rights is one of the Yemeni government’s ministries, specializing in human rights,—has condemned the incident and accused Saudi Arabia of being responsible for it, as well as for violating the ceasefire agreement in Al Hudaydah.

Administrators in the Al Hudaydah Governorate condemned the drone attack by Saudi forces on Tuesday, 24 March 2023, in the Al-Sharjah area of the Al-Jarrahi district, which resulted in the death of three children and injury of several others.

On the same day of the incident Yemeni Press shared news regarding other incidents in the nearby districts such as Al-Jabaliya and Hays, where a Saudi reconnaissance aircraft was reportedly involved.

Additionally, on the same day as the incident, social media accounts shared news about the continuous violations by Saudi forces in the Al Hudaydah governorate. The Liaison Officers reported that there were 240 violations by the Saudi forces in Al Hudaydah, including 10 reconnaissance air raids on Hays, Al-Jarrahi, and Al-Jabaliya. The Liaison Officers consist of observers from the Yemeni army and Ansar Allah Houthi, who were formed by the special United Nations mission to monitor the ceasefire in Al Hudaydah and distributed across five observation points.

The Cradle website published an article on 24 January 2023, reporting that the Saudi-led coalition carried out an attack on the Al Sharjah village, which resulted in the killing of three children, and another injured. The article also mentioned another incident that occurred the previous day, on 23 January 2023, in Saada’s Shadaa district, killed two civilians and injured four. The article claims that a statement made by coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki denied the involvement of the Saudi-led coalition in these strikes. However, Yemeni Archive could not find any official statement from the Saudi-led coalition regarding the Al Sharjah incident or even the statement that was mentioned by the Cradle website.

Conflicting with the statements above, some news reports published by Masader 24, Al Sahil.net, and NewsYemen accused the Ansar Allah Houthis of the attack. According to these reports, the reason behind the attack was that Ansar Allah Houthi forces were trying to confiscate land from a local landowner. The reports named Mohamed Fatini Jalmoud, who was loyal to Ansar Allah Houthi, as having threatened the people of Al-Sharjah village to leave. Yemeni Archive was unable to confirm this claim.


The first post shared on Facebook about the incident claimed the deaths of three children and the injury of another. Tweets circulated on Twitter about the incident, all of which mentioned the same number of victims, the killing of three children and the injury of another.

Additionally, news reports shared the names, ages, and images of the deceased children: two sisters, 13 and 10 years old, and a 9-year-old boy. Social media posts also shared news about a fourth injured child. A video shared on Telegram showed footage of the injured child receiving treatment in the hospital.

Parents of the children were interviewed in the hospital and back in the village. A television report also shared footage of a woman, who appeared to be the children’s mother, sobbing. The video also included an interview with the father of the injured boy in the hospital.

On January 24, 2023, the day of the incident, the Ansar Allah media center shared news about the total number of human casualties resulting from Saudi forces’ actions in Yemen, stating 50,025 people were either killed or injured.

Based on the visual open-source information collected and verified by Yemeni Archive, three children—two girls and a boy—were killed, and another boy was injured.


An analysis of information and open-source visual content shared online collected by Yemeni Archive about the incident in Al Sharjah area concluded that on Tuesday 24 January 2023 shortly before 09:30 the Saudi-led Coalition launched a likely drone strike on the Al-Sharjah area that resulted in the death of three children, two girls and a boy, and the injury of another boy, all under the age of 13. Prior to the incident, there was an increase in military confrontations in the area as it appears to have been located nearby frontlines. While information points towards the Saudi-led Coalition as the likely perpetrator of the attack, lack of visual content has made attributing responsibility challenging. Additionally, The complexities of determining responsibility in conflict zones emphasize the need for continued scrutiny, evidentiary corroboration, and consideration of external reports for a more comprehensive understanding of the incident. Given that some aspects of the investigation remain inconclusive such as the exact geolocation of this attack, mainly due to lack visual information, it is important to continue preserving evidence via open-source channels related to the incident in an effort to facilitate future investigations and to bring a degree of closure to victims’ families and survivors — for whom no form of reparations have been proposed amid their pleas to the international community to bring an end to indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Possible Breaches of International Law – Attacking Civilians and a Civilian Object

International Humanitarian Law:

Relevant context to this investigation is Yemen continues to experience a non-international armed conflict, international humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of armed conflict. The principle of distinction is a cornerstone of IHL and dictates that all conflict parties must distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects. Articulated in Rule 1 and Rule 7 of the rules of customary IHL, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, attacks must not be directed against civilians and civilian objects must not be attacked unless they have been repurposed to achieve military objectives.It is in breach of article 3 of the Geneva convention and additional protocol (II).

In the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons case before the International Court of Justice, several states invoked the principle of distinction between civilian and military objects. In its opinion, the court stated that the principle of distinction was one of the “cardinal principles” of international humanitarian law in all conflicts. The principle of distinction was also recently affirmed in UN Security Council Resolution 2624 (2022) which strongly condemned parties for directing attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen.

Available information indicates that the home hit in this incident was not a lawful object of attack insofar as it does not appear to have been a military target or used to achieve military objectives. Further, the multiple civilian casualties and injuries documented indicate a breach of the legal protection for civilians.

International Criminal Law:

Unlawful attacks on civilian objects may be prosecutable under international criminal law. Consider in particular Rome Statute Art. 8(2)(e)(i), which concerns the war crime of attacking civilians during non-international armed conflicts. However, current opportunities to pursue individual responsibility for international crimes conducted in Yemen are limited and likely best found in the domestic criminal court systems of third states.

International Human Rights Law:

Additionally relevant context is an assessment of international human rights law (IHRL), particularly the right to life and the protection of children. IHRL protects the right to life for all individuals, including children – here, most relevantly as articulated in Convention on the Rights of the Child. Signed and ratified by both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the CRC legally protects children from harm and codifies their right to survival and development.


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