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Home / World / With the first death in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian-led war in Yemen hits home

With the first death in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian-led war in Yemen hits home



RIYADH (Reuters) – Khattab Jalal, 27, slept on Sunday night in the apartment in East Riyadh, which he shared with 15 other Egyptian construction workers when the sound of explosions shook him awake.

A huge hole had opened in the green-painted ceiling of her house, which was filled with smoke and boulders. He and the others ran outside, but found that one of their housemates was not with them.

Thirty-eight-year-old Abdul Muntaleb Ali, lying on the floor next to three others on a thin blue mattress, had been killed when, shortly before midnight, debris from a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi militia crashed through her roof Sunday.

He was the first person to die in the Saudi capital following a three-year military campaign by the Saudi coalition against the Houthis and their allies ̵

1; a war that has claimed at least 10,000 lives in Yemen and around 22 million humanitarian ones Need help.

Three of Ali's roommates, one of whom was his brother, were injured in the attack, Jalal told Reuters the next morning.

"He has not left for three years (Saudi Arabia), he has not seen his children," Jalal said, "you are with your friend and you are eating together – and a few hours later you wake up and find him dead. "

Saudi troops demolished three missiles over the northeastern Riyadh on Sunday and four others fired the coalition in the southern cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait at the same time.

The attacks marked the third anniversary of the Saudi led to a sharp escalation of the conflict and deprived the sense of calm in a city that had never really felt at war until a few months ago.

People review the damage after debris from ballistic missiles, the from the Yemen Houthi militia fired on a house in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 26, 2018. REUTERS / Faisal Al Nasser

A NEW TYPE OF FEAR [19659011] Haila Zayed, a 27-year-old Saudi citizen, clutching her little son in panic when she heard the explosions above her. She could feel the car shaking as her husband drove.

"I have always enjoyed security in my country, and for the first time I felt the kind of fear that people are at war with," she said. "May God protect our land and protect it."

The Saudi-led coalition, for its part, has carried out thousands of air strikes since Yemen's operations began after Iranian-allied Houthis occupied the capital, Sana'a, and forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi to flee.

Sunday's missile debate flooded Twitter on Monday, pledging to keep Saudi Arabia safe and condone Ali to lead the list of trend hashtags in the kingdom.

Many prominent Saudis, including newspaper columnists, clerics, and members of the Shura Advisory Council, urged people not to share videos and photos of the attacks, saying that they would feed into Houthi propaganda.

In shopping centers, cafés and supermarkets around Riyadh, Saudis digested the escalation in its own way.

For Abdulrahman al-Sari, who lives in Riyadh, but comes from the frequently targeted southern province of Najran, the situation was too familiar to outsmart him. "It was normal for me," he said with a shrug. "We are used to it."

Others came from experience, chastised and defiant.

"I want to take a gun, put on a uniform, and join the brave Saudi soldiers stationed at the border," said Fahad Matar al-Shelahy, a student at a technical college in Riyadh.

"When they order people to join the soldiers, I will be the first." We all want to be martyrs who defend our country. "

Reporting by Marwa Rashad and Sarah Dadouch; Writing by Katie Paul


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