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Incident on 15 April 2015 [+] Print this page

Location: Jarman petrol station, Sa'adah district, Sa'dah Governorate [+]

Country: Yemen [+]

Violation types: Unlawful Airstrike [+]


This incident took place in Jarman petrol station, Sa'adah district, Sa'dah Governorate, Yemen [+]


According to Human Rights Watch: "Unlawful Airstrikes [...] Human Rights Watch investigated several coalition aerial attacks in Saada City that appeared to be in violation of the laws of war. On the basis of information from relatives, witnesses, medical staff, and local Houthi authorities Human Rights Watch compiled the names and ages of 59 people killed in aerial attacks in Saada City between April 6 and May 11, including 14 women and at least 35 children. [...] On April 15, at least one aerial bomb struck the Jarman petrol station in western Saada City, killing at least five people and injuring 23 – though likely many more -- who were waiting in line to fill their cars with gasoline. Abed Abd al-Rahman Ali, 23, a car mechanic, told Human Rights Watch that about 50 cars were lined up outside the petrol station, known as the Jarman Station, next to his workshop. The combined effect of the war and the coalition blockade had created long lines at petrol stations all over Yemen. Ali said he heard an airplane overhead at about 1 p.m. and then a loud explosion. A bomb had hit the gas station’s roof, causing it to collapse in a fireball that incinerated some of the vehicles. Ali, who said he ran out to help the wounded, described a chaotic scene at the station: “I saw four sets of limbs completely severed so we don’t know who they belonged to.” Ansar Allah’s civil affairs office provided Human Rights Watch the names of five people who died in the attack and 23 wounded. Medical personnel told Human Rights Watch that they were not able to identify eight people after the attack because they were too badly burned, indicating a higher casualty figure. Witnesses described seeing many victims after the attack. Ali said that he saw about 15 to 20 bodies on the ground and about 20 to 25 people with burns and fragmentation wounds. His brother, Osamah Abd al-Rahman Ali, told Human Rights Watch he arrived at the scene minutes after the strike and saw at least eight bodies, including some with severed limbs, and 16 wounded. Human Rights Watch was also not able to establish how many of those killed were civilians. The Ansar Allah civil affairs office told Human Rights Watch that the people whose deaths they had documented were all civilians.60 Ali told Human Rights Watch that he did not see anybody at the station carrying weapons. Another Saada resident, however, told Human Rights Watch that the Houthis used the Jarman petrol station as the main one at which to refuel their vehicles. Satellite imagery recorded around 10:30 a.m. on April 15, about two and a half hours before the airstrike, shows a line of several dozen vehicles stretching approximately 175 meters from the petrol station. The vehicles appear small in size consistent with passenger cars and pickup trucks. Satellite imagery recorded on May 2 shows extensive building destruction and fire-burned cars surrounding the petrol station consistent with the detonation of aerial munitions and secondary fuel tank fires. During its investigation of the site, Human Rights Watch found that the concrete overhang above the petrol pumps had collapsed, consistent with witnesses’ claims that a bomb struck the roof. There were seven burned-out vehicles in close proximity to the station. All of the vehicles appeared civilian. Five of the vehicles were small passenger mini-buses. Two cars were regular personal cars. Photos from the immediate aftermath of the attack that Human Rights Watch reviewed do not show any additional vehicles that would appear to be military. Because of the importance of fuel for military operations, depriving belligerent forces of fuel supplies is a legitimate military objective. Even so, for the coalition to attack a petrol station in the middle of the day when it could reasonably be determined that many civilians were present, instead of at night and after providing a specific warning, is contrary to the obligations to take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm and may amount to an unlawfully indiscriminate or disproportionate attack.” [+]

Perpetrator units

Name Other Names Classification
Operation Decisive Storm [+] Firmness Storm
Operation Storm of Resolve
Resolve Storm
operation Asifat al-Hazm
Air Force [+]
Army [+]
Joint Operation [+]
Military [+]
Navy [+]


List of all sources used to evidence the data in this record Click the "+" symbol next to every data point in the record to see the sources used for that data point.

Publication Date Publisher Publication Title Access Date Archive Link
30 June 2015 Human Rights Watch Targeting Saada: Unlawful Coalition Airstrikes on Saada City in Yemen 09 October 2019