Shell kills three journalists in Taiz

Context of the story

Taqi Al -Din Mohammed Al -Huthaifi

Wael Mohammed Al -Absi

Saad Al -Nadhari

Violation time: 5/26/2017

Place of violation: Taiz

Violation type: killing

Perpetrator of the violation: The Houthi group ‘Ansar Allah’

On the morning of Friday, May 26, 2017, six collaborators with local and foreign media went to cover the battles between the army of the internationally recognized government and the Houthi group, east of Taiz city, but a shell coming from the Houthis area killed three of them: Taqi Al-Din Al-Huthaifi, Wael Al-Absi, and Saad Al-Nadhari, while the other three were wounded.

At Free Media Center, we documented the details of the incident as stated by the wounded, an eyewitness “his leg was amputated”, Salah Al-Wahbani “his hand nerves were torn apart” and Osaid Al-Odaini, “his injury was light.”

Saad Al-Nadhari had been wounded shortly before them, shrapnels from a shell penetrated his stomach, he kept bleeding, because the ambulance was unable to enter the place where Al-Nadhari was so he died. Soon after, another shell fell on his other five colleagues.

“We had a camera that documented the incident itself, filmed the shell, filmed when the paramedics brought him to the hospital , and these footage was circulated in most channels,” says an eyewitness, who worked as a cameraman with the government’s Aden satellite channel, adding: “The nature of our work, is filming and documenting what is happening in the city of Taiz, whether on the frontlines, or humanitarian stories in the displacement camps. “

The battles were most intense in Al-Tashrifat camp, east of Taiz city on Friday, 27/5/2017. The Houthis were firing mortars and tanks hysterically, according to the testimony of Salah Al-Wahbani, whose hand nerves will be torn later, the photographers went to cover the shelling and inform public opinion and the media about what is happening, and when they were near Mohammed Ali Othman school area : “We were exposed to firing , then we got orders from the front commander to withdraw back so that we would be safe, we went back.”

“While we were gathered, we started filming some footage and a mortar shell fell near us,” says Osaid Al-Odaini. “A stone flew and hit me; I had some bruises. I thought everyone wasn’t seriously injured, like me, I filmed the smoke of the bombing, I was surprised by an eyewitness’s voice screaming, “My leg, my leg.”

Osaid was close to his colleague Wael Al-Absi, who works as a collaborator with the Yemeni satellite channel, while carrying the eyewitness, Osaid told Wael to follow him inside fearing that another shell might fall, but Wael shook his head left and right, meaning that he could not get up.

An eyewitness remembers the scene: “I saw the bone of my leg had been removed from it place ” “The skin that was left of my leg was cut off, Salah Al-Wahbani was screaming: My hands…. My hands.”

Osaid returned to Wael, unfortunately, Wael was: “dying… When I lifted him, I touched his guts. The situation was indescribably horrible…..words can’t describe it. I carried him inside, it’s only moments and he’s dead.”

Osaid went out again to search for Salah Al-Din Al-Wahbani, and Taqi Al-Din Al-Huthaifi, who was a collaborator with  Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels in addition to Al-Jazeera channel, says Osaid : «I was shocked that Taqi Al-Din Al-Huthaifi, a lifeless body, he was severely injured because the shell fell near him» although, Al-Huthaifi is the only one who wears the protection vest of journalists,

“I saw Salah Al-Din Al-Wahbani, who was also injured by shrapnel in the right hand forearm , that ripped out the nerves” and caused him to be paraplegic later. Osaid confirms: ” army members in that area told us that the ‘Houthi mortar’ is on a hill called ‘Al-Karfa’ overlooking the site where we were and they can see us clearly through binoculars. “Our targeting by the Houthis was deliberate.”

*Free Media for investigative journalism calls on fellow journalists, activists and human rights organizations to advocate for the cases of Yemeni journalists and activists who have been subjected to violations in the past years, and to work to activate justice and hold the perpetrators of these violations accountable


This brief summary is part of the “For the Truth” project, within which an in-depth report on the situation will be published during the current year 2024.