What to tell you? I was home with my family. We were sleeping. At about 1:30am, I heard shooting taking place. At the beginning, I thought it was a confrontation with the Houthis, or clashes between our tribes. (We are nomads and our houses are at spaced distance.) Anyway, after half an hour of clashes, aircrafts flew over and started to strike anywhere and kill anyone coming out of their house.
I did not leave my house to the place where the shootings and confrontations took place, a few metres away. My family and I were inside and shootings and explosions continued. We did not imagine nor expect that it was a landing operation.
During the operation, I heard strong explosions hitting the area and Apache planes striking homes and targeting everything mobile. Anyone, who tried to escape from their homes – whether a man, a woman or a child – were killed.
In the early morning, after the operation ended, I went to the scene and saw the volume of destruction. I saw the dead bodies everywhere. While I was searching among the bodies, I found my daughter Fateem lying dead in the street with her child in her arms. She was covered with blood. I did not imagine this could happen – I cannot forget those painful moments.
I also thought at first that Muhammad, my two-year-old grandson, was also killed – but when we took him from Fateem’s arms, he cried. He was sleeping all the time in his dead mother’s arms.
The child was slightly injured in the hand by a bullet that hit and left his mother’s body. Such a scene no one could imagine nor comprehend – this level of criminality and killing.
This US operation killed women, children – civilians.
If the US Government truly wants to target terrorists, let them name an internationally wanted terrorist they killed or chased with this raid. I do not know what they were looking for – all I know is that they killed our children, women and civilians without mercy, and seemingly without any reason.
Our people are still shocked. We do not understand what happened, and why this crime was committed.
I thank my Reprieve caseworkers and all the free voices in the world, who seek to know the truth of what happened, and inform the world about this tragedy. We call upon you to visit our region to find out what happened on the ground and to show the real picture of us, who are intended to be killed twice – first by murdering us, then by accusing us of terror.
Saleh Mohsen al-Ameri is a grandfather from the village of Yakla, where Trump’s first military operation took place in January 2017. Several of Saleh’s family members were killed in the raid
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