A young girl was targeted allegedly by a Houthi sniper while fetching water for her family in the Yemeni city of Taiz yesterday.
Horrific images have been shared on social media leading to widespread anger and condemnation. The pictures show a young girl believed to be nine or ten years old, named as Ruwaida Saleh, after she was shot in the head while carrying a 20-litre water container.
Another child, her brother, is then seen dragging her body away from the scene.
Although some have claimed the girl died, local journalists and news sources have reported that she survived the attack and is currently in intensive care and is in a stable condition.
A video clip of Ruwaida in a hospital bed has also circulated.
The attack took place in the Al-Rawda area of Taiz, which is the third largest city in Yemen. Once known as the “cultural capital” it has increasingly been referred to as the “city of snipers” and is home to one of the longest-running battles for control between Houthi forces and those fighting on behalf of the internationally recognised government in exile.
While previous clashes have taken place between the Houthis and pro-government forces, there are also battles both with the Houthis and within pro-government militia. There have been several previous reported incidents of civilians including children being targeted by Houthi snipers.
The mainly Shafi’i Sunni city has also seen recent rallies calling on the Saudi-backed government to “liberate” the city from the Houthi movement whose followers are largely Zaydi Shia and are allied to the majority of the Yemeni army.