Shelling the rural power station in TaizFebruary 15, 2023
Shelling the rural power station in Taiz
- Incident: Shelling the rural power station in Taiz
- Attack Type: Missile shelling
- Location: Osaiferah, Al-Qahirah district, north of Taiz city
- Date: 29 September 2015
- Time: between 08:45 - 09:05 am
- Potential munition: 122 mm BM-21 Grad
- Physical Damage: Electrical transformer burned out
- Victims: No casualties reported
- Probable Responsibility: Houthi-Saleh forces
According to open source information, on the morning of 29 September 2015, alleged artillery and missile shelling hit several areas in Taiz city. The attack hit the rural power plant in Osaiferah area of Al-Qahirah, north of the city, which resulted in burning one of the power transformers and damaging the station’s nearby facilities.
This attack on the station was not the first. The station was attacked several times [see incidents INF_0069601, INF_0069602, INF_0069603, INF_0069604, INF_0069605, INF_0069606] since the beginning of the war, and was completely out of service. The station, along with the Mocha station, were the only source of electricity for the governorate and its countryside. As it went out of service, Taiz city lacked government electricity completely. This service was replaced by commercial (private) stations, which impose exorbitant prices for electricity services, amounting to approximately (one dollar per kilowatt), in addition to the subscription fees, which are much higher than the financial abilities of people there.
About the area
The rural power plant is located in Osaiferah area of Al-Qahirah district, north of Taiz, the capital of the governorate, close to the lines of engagement between the Resistance Forces and the government army on the one hand, and the Houthi-Saleh on the northern fronts of Taiz, and 700 meters from Jabal Jarrah, one of the strategic sites in the city. It has a military importance to both sides, and was subject to violent confrontations during 2015 to control it.
Figure A400 Satellite image from Google Maps, of the location of the rural power station in Taiz city
On the morning of 29 September 2015, social media platforms circulated news that the rural power station in Osaiferah area of Taiz city had been subjected to ground bombardment, as a result of which fire broke out in the station. This event coincided with military confrontations between the Resistance Forces and the government army on one side and the Houthi-Saleh forces in different areas of the city.
This Facebook post claims that there is a fire in Osaiferah power station after it was bombed by the Houthi militias and Saleh’s forces.
Taiz News Network T.N.N and Al-Jazeera TV documented the impact of the shelling in the site of the projectile’s fall at the rural power station in Osaiferah area. Through analysing available open sources, attack site was geolocated to coordinates 13.596395, 44.012081 near the fuel tanks inside the station.
The station is located approximately 600 meters away from the lines of engagement. The nearest location appears in Al-Jazeera TV’s report, where the reporter points to buildings on the strategic Jabal Jarra overlooking the city, while there are no military aspects at the station.
The date and time of the Attack
After 9 am local time, the first report of the incident was published by Taiz News Network T.N.N on Facebook at 09:05 according to the timestamp analysis tool. The likely time range of the attack is between 08 :45 - 09:05 am, local time, 29 September 2015.
Figure A403 Screenshot of the first report of the incident by Taiz News Network T.N.N .
This tweet by T.N.N. states that there is a fire in Osaiferah power station after it was bombed by the Houthi militias and Saleh’s forces
In video footage of the site after the attack, Al Jazeera News claimed that the weapon used was a Katyusha rocket (Grad bm-21). Taiz News Network T.N.N Facebook published a photo (see first photo below) and a video of munition remnants from the attack site. There are 6 pieces with internal and external spiral rings connecting the missile parts. The second photo below shows a drawing of a 122 mm Grad bm-21, depicting the separate pieces of the missile. By comparing the drawing to the image of the weapons remnants, similarities in the separate parts connecting the missile together can be observed. Based on this, Yemeni Archive’s analysis of the munitions used in this attack seem to offer support to Al Jazeera’s reporting, although further analysis would be needed to make a definitive conclusion.
Figure A405 Photo of munition remnants from Taiz News Network T.N.N Facebook post. This photo shows 6 pieces with internal and external spiral rings connecting the missile parts
Figure A406 Illustrative photo of the parts for a 122mm Grad bm-21 rocket from the World in War website.
Open source documentation of this incident shows that the attack resulted in burning and damaging one of the station’s electrical transformers, as well as shattering windows in buildings and containers near the site of the missile strike.
Figure A407 Screenshot from Taiz News Network T.N.N Facebook video, showing the burned transformer
Figure A408 Screenshot from Taiz News Network T.N.N video on Facebook, of windows and containers impacted by the attack
Figure A409 Screenshot from Taiz News Network T.N.N video on Facebook, next to panoramic screenshots from Al-Jazeera video on YouTube showing the possible directions of the missile trajectory based on the impact.
Figure A410 Screenshot from Taiz News Network T.N.N Facebook video
Figure A411 Panoramic screenshots from Al-Jazeera video on YouTube showing the location of the wall in relation to the electrical transformer, in order to determine the direction opposite to the wall
Analysis of open-source documentation appears to support claims made by Al Jazeera’s on the Grad missiles being used. Open-source analysis expanded the possibilities of the missile trajectory in a wider range from the east and north-east directions to ensure not to fall into the error of optical deception because the documentation of the wall was from a side angle. By extending the lines to a distance of 20 km - the range of the Grad missiles – open-source analysis revealed that the farthest point controlled by the Resistance within the area of possible trajectory is located at a distance of 20 km, one kilometer from the power station, while the rest of the area is within the control of the Houthi-Saleh forces. Because this analysis fits with the range of the Grad bm-21 missiles, it offers potential evidence supporting Al Jazeera’s claims that the weapon used was a Katyusha rocket (Grad bm-21).
Figure A412 Satellite image from Google Earth, showing a possible missile trajectory
Figure A413 Satellite image from Google Earth, showing the military control during the shelling period within the possible launch area of the missile.\ Brown color: Under the control of the Houthi-Saleh forces
Analysis of open source documentation concerning this incident shows characteristics consistent with Houthi-Saleh force attacks. From the areas they control, the Yemeni Army and Resistance Forces can not launch a missile that falls with an impact angle of 25 degrees or less, as we saw in this incident. In addition, there were steel structures and buildings present [in the area controlled by the Yemeni Army the Resistance Forces] higher than the impact site, and this would have prevented the missile from reaching the impact point in the event of a direct hit by the Yemeni Army and Resistance Forces.
However, if a missile was launched from the area controlled by the Houthi-Saleh forces, it can fall in multiple angles, including the angle Yemeni Archive estimated at approximately 25 degrees, which makes it possible that the Houthi-Saleh forces were responsible for the attack.
Figure A415 Satellite image from Google Earth and a screenshot from Al Jazeera YouTube video showing steel structures higher than the transformer room
Analysis of available open-source information demonstrates that on the morning of 29 September 2015, the Houthi-Saleh forces allegedly shelled the rural power station in Osaiferah area, north of Taiz city, likely with a 122mm bm-21 grad rocket, and that the attack appeared to burn one of the station’s power transformers.