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INVESTIGATIONS

Two TV directors and three of their children killed by alleged Saudi led coalition air strikes in Sana'a Governorate.

October 6, 2021

An investigation reveals that two TV directors and three of their children killed by alleged Saudi led coalition airstrikes in Sana'a Governorate on 9 February 2016.

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Incident Summary

  • Incident: Two TV directors and three of their children killed by air strikes in Sana’a Governorate.
  • Location of the strikes: Bayt Mi’yad neighbourhood in Al Sabeen District, south of Sana’a Governorate.
  • Impact site: Two-storey house, car engine oil depot and Shaqaiq Al Numan school.
  • Date: 9 February 2016
  • Time: 09:00 - 09:20 pm local time
  • Dead: 5 people from one family
  • Wounded: Unknown
  • Attack type: Air strikes
  • Possible munitions: Unknown
  • Potential responsibility: Saudi led Arab Coalition

Introduction

On the evening of 9 February 2016, air strikes destroyed the house of directors Munir Al Hakimi and his wife, Suad Hujaira, in Bayt Mi’yad residential neighbourhood in Sana’a governorate, and partially damaged adjacent buildings. According to a report by Erem News website, air strikes launched by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition targeted military sites of the Houthi “Ansar Allah group” in Sana’a governorate. The report quoted eyewitnesses as saying that there were deaths and injuries after a coalition raid that targeted a house in the Miʽyad neighbourhood. The raids resulted in the killing of the Al Hakimi, Hujaira and three of their children. The strikes completely destroyed their house, and partially damaged Shaqaiq Al Numan school and the oil depot next to the house.

Methodology

The Yemeni Archive investigated the incident based on:

  • Testimonies obtained by the team from Abd Al Hakim Al Hakimi, a relative of director Munir al-Hakimi, and Suad Hujaira’s sister, in addition to eyewitnesses were near the site of the raids.
  • Collecting, analysing, and verifying videos and photos uploaded to websites and social media networks, allegedly documenting the raids, and comparing them to satellite imagery.
  • The relevant sources provided the Yemeni Archive team with information related to the date, time, location, injuries and damages, and developed an understanding of the incident.

About the area

The director’s house is located in Bayt Mi’yad neighbourhood in Al Sabaeen district, south of Sana’a governorate, and it is part of a multi-floor building owned by Ali Nasser Al Miʽyad, 500 meters from the presidential residence, which was subjected to dozens of raids by the Coalition forces at different times in 2015, which destroyed most of its facilities.

1 A satellite image of the location of TV director Mounir Al Hakimi’s house

The incident

Information from available sources identified three landmarks in the targeted area: Shaqaiq Al Numan School, the oil depot inside the school, which may have caused the outbreak of the fires referred to in Yousef Essa’s tweet, Ali Nasser Al Miʽyad’s house, that included the apartment, in which the family of director Hakimi lived. A fire broke out in a hangar for tires and oils, near Shaqaiq Al Numan School, a depot near the targeted house, shown in a video posted by “Where is the Blast Now” Facebook page, at 21:49, in addition to Salah Ghanem’s Facebook post, one of the company’s owners that owns the hangar.

2 A screenshot of Salah Ghanem’s Facebook post

The day after the targeting, the Houthi-affiliated Yemeni news agency, Saba, reported the killing of TV director Mounir Al Hakimi, his wife and three of their children in a raid targeted a school hangar in Bayt Mi’yad neighbourhood in Sana’a governorate, which indicates the presence of the director and his family in the house next to the school.

3 A screenshot of the news by the Houthis affiliated Yemeni news agency, Saba

Available sources and social media also circulated videos and photos of the fire, and during the next day, containing visual evidence of the scene of the incident.

Time

On the evening of 9 February 2016, social media and websites reported news of air strikes targeting Bayt Mi’yad area in Sana’a. Among the first reports, a Facebook post by Daifallah Ghallab at 21:19, according to time stamp analysis by TimestampConvert. The post reported “a missile strike that shook the entire Bayt Mi’yad neighbourhood.”

4 A screenshot of Daifallah Ghallab’s Facebook post

5 Analysis of the time stamp of Daifallah Ghallab’s Facebook post by TimestampConvert

About 18 minutes later, Hatem Ahmed described in a tweet two raids that targeted a hangar (depot) inside Shaqaiq Al Rahman schools in Bayt Mi’yad, and he set their time at 21:00. A tweet by Yousef Essa mentioned the name of the owner of the targeted house, in which director Al Hakimi lived.

6 Hatem Ahmed’s tweet

7 Youssef Essa’s tweet

In his testimony to the Yemeni Archive, Abdul Hakim Al Hakimi, Munir Al Hakimi’s nephew said: “I was in Al Hudaydah at the time of the raids. They called me at dawn and told me that your uncle Mounir’s house was bombed, and that the incident was at nine at night.” Al Hakimi’s testimony, news on social media, analysis of the time stamp of Daifallah Ghallab’s Facebook post and the timing indicated by Hatem Ahmed in his tweet, make it likely that the time of the raids was between 21:00 and 21:20 local time.

Geographic location

In order to determine the geographical location, the Yemeni Archive matched the visual evidence in the open-source content with images taken by the team of the location of the raids and compared them with satellite images of the area. Video reports by local TVs at a later time of the raids, including (Yemen Today, News Yemen TV, AlMasirah TV), in addition to photos published by “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” show the impact of the attack, which can be analysed to ensure their conformity. In the comparison below: Night shots from News Yemen TV report and a photo published by Yemen Today channel’s Facebook page showing Al Mi’yad house, in which director Mounir Al Hakimi lived. The photos show flames that are likely to have erupted in the oil depot behind the house, according to the sources. The details of the house are consistent with the photos published by the “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” the morning after the incident.

8 A screenshot from News Yemen TV report, and an image from Yemen Today Facebook page

9 A photo from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page

10 Photos of the aftermath of the fire in the oil depot next to the school from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page and Yamanyoon website

Through comparison, it is possible to determine the location of the burning hangar behind the targeted house. The location of the school can also be determined by comparing the visual evidence published after the incident with the images documented by the Yemeni Archive of the site of the raids and comparing them with satellite images. The following photos from Ahmed Mohamed alKomry Facebook page, of the school yard from the behind the house after the raids, show part of the cement columns painted in colours of the Yemeni flag. These photos match the recent photos of the school taken by the Yemeni Archive team, which confirms that it is located next to the oil depot.

11 A photo of the site by Ahmed Alkomry after the bombing showing, and a recent photo of the school by the Yemeni Archive team.

We can get a clearer perception, by comparing a photo published by Ofq News with photos taken by the Archive team for the school site and the depot from different sides (front - back). In the two photos from the frontside, we see a tree hanging from the wall of a house, and part of the upper room is marked by red bricks. In the third picture from the back, the house and the tree, and the two gates of the two places, in addition to the house wall at the end of the road and a distinctive building, which matches the features of the satellite images.

Photos 1 and 3 by the Yemeni Archive team, and a photo (2) by Ofq News

13 Satellite image from Google Earth

By analysing and comparing the landmarks and visual evidence in the photos by “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page, and a video by AlMayadeen Channel, from the front of the house, we see signs for shops near the targeted house.

14 A photo from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page

15 A screenshot from AlMayadeen Channel report

Searching around the house using Google Maps, the team found photos and information about these stores. In the first comparison, we note a match in the details of the building shown in the satellite images with a photo published by “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page. We also notice a change in a sign on the building adjacent to the site of the raids, as the image in Google Maps shows the sign of a commercial company selling cigarettes for the same shop that, at the time of the incident, was a store for selling motorcycle parts.

A photo from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page and a photo form Google Maps

A photo from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page shows an orange storefront selling Pirelli tires, near the targeted Al Hakimi house. The photo matches the photos and information of the location in Google Maps. A screenshot from Yemen Today video also highlights an arched concrete block that appears to be the entrance to a tunnel down the asphalt road, confirming the match in the visual evidence.

Photos from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page, and a screenshot from Yemen Today video

After analysing and matching the visual evidence in the available content of the attack site and comparing it with satellite images, it is possible to determine the location of Al Hakimi’s house at coordinate 15.317123 44.221739, and the location of the oil depot at coordinate 15.317488, 44.221769

18 A satellite image of the incident site

Destruction analysis

The guard of the Shaqaiq Al Numan school, adjacent to the depot, says in his testimony to the Yemeni Archive, that he was present during the incident. Airplanes, which he says belong to the Coalition, targeted with two missiles at the same time a house and a depot for car engine oils, which led to the outbreak of fire and the destruction of the house, in addition to collateral damage to the windows and walls of the school. By analysing the scenes of photos of destruction published in various sources and at different times, it is possible to determine the extent of the material damage caused by the strikes on the residential area. In the photo below: the house remained standing after the raids, despite its partial collapse and damage to the concrete pillars that carry it, while the last photo shows the complete demolition of the house during the search for the bodies of the victims.

19 A photo from “Crimes of the Decisive Storm on the people of Yemen” Facebook page

20 Photo from Hassan Al Kholani’s Facebook

21 Photo from Hassan Al Kholani’s Facebook

22 A photo by the Yemeni Archive team

A photo published by Ofq News, and another photo from Ayesh Abu Lahoum’s Facebook page, show the entire oil depot demolished, as a result of the raids and the fires

23 A photo from Ayesh Abu Lahoum Facebook page

24 A photo from Ofq News

A year after the incident, the team found photos published by “the Legal Centre for Rights and Development” Facebook page showing damage to school classrooms as a result of the attack.

25 A photo from “the Legal Centre for Rights and Development” Facebook page

In the following comparison, satellite images, before and after the attack, show the extent of the destruction caused by air strikes

Abdul Hakim Al Hakimi said in his testimony to the Yemeni Archive that “the house was bombed at nine o’clock in the evening with two missiles from two different directions, and from almost the same plane. The first floor inhabited by the director Mounir’s family was blown up, and the rest of the empty apartments, as well as the ground floor, which was a storeroom for one of the fuel and battery dealers that helped the ignition and blocked the team from directly reaching the bodies of the martyrs.”

Reactions to the attack

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, condemned the killing of two media workers Suad Hujaira and Munir Al Hakimi, in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists”, as the only agency among the United Nations agencies entrusted with the task of defending freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

26 A screenshot of the condemnation by the Director General of UNESCO

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate also mourned the killing of director Al Hakimi and his wife, the employee of Yemen Today channel, Suad Hujaira, and demanded verification of the incident and all violations that affect freedom of opinion and expression in Yemen.

27 A screenshot of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate Facebook post

Victims

In his testimony to the Yemeni Archive, Mr Al Hakimi said, “the next day after the explosion, the search teams were able to reach the body of Suad Hujaira, and her daughter Nouran in her lap. At four o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, we were able to reach the bodies of the two children, Rami Mounir and Majd Mounir. The search continued. The director’s body was buried for about 8 days, so we could reach his body after we used bulldozers. The body was covered with dust in the area of ​​the incident.” The names of the victims can be listed based on: testimonies collected by the Yemeni archive, interview with director Suad Hujaira’s sister, who reported the killing of 5 people, most of whom were from Mounir Al Hakimi family, as they were the only ones in the building on the night of the attack. Their house was bombed after they returned from the hospital to treat one of their children, in addition to the information in Amnesty International’s report:

28 A photo of a torn document of director Mounir Al Hakimi, which was published by Mujtahidye Al Yemen on Twitter

Director Mounir Al Hakimi, 43 years old Director Suad Hujaira (wife of Mounir Al Hakimi), 35 years old Three of their children: Rami Mounir Al Hakimi, 10 years old Majd Mounir Al Hakimi, 8 years old Nouran Mounir Al Hakimi, 2 years old

29 A screenshot from Amnesty International’s report on the victims of the attack

The bodies of director Suad Hujaira and her three children were removed the next morning from the rubble, according to a Facebook post by their colleague Hassan Al Kholani. The body of director, Mounir Al Hakimi, remained under the rubble for six days after the strikes, according to the report by News Yemen Today, and another post by Hassan Al Kholani during the research period.

30 Photos from Hassan Al Kholani Facebook

Conclusion

Based on the information detailed above, the Yemeni Archive was able to confirm that the Saudi led Arab Coalition air force launched two airstrikes, one targeted the residential building in which the family of director Mounir Al Hakimi live, and the other targeted an oil depot in Bayt Mi’yad neighbourhood, south of Sana’a governorate, between 21:00 and 21:20 on 9 February 2016. The airstrikes killed director Al Hakimi and and his wife Suad Hujaira, who work for Yemen satellite Channel and the TV, and three of their children. The airstrikes destroyed their house and an oil depot, and damaged a nearby school.

The Yemeni Archive is fully independent and accepts no money from governments directly involved in the Yemeni conflict. We are seeking individual donations to carry out our work. Please consider supporting our work through our Patreon page.

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