Shamsan, news correspondent for the satellite TV station Yemen Today, was killed in an air strike in the Faj Attan district of the capital by a Saudi-led coalition of countries against Houthi militias, according to news reports. The blast also killed the station’s security personnel, Monir Aklan and Hazzam Mohamed Zeid, and Amin Yehia, an accountant, according to the station.
At least 10 other staff members were injured in the blast, according to news reports and the station. A video on the station’s YouTube channel the following day identified them as Nayef al-Morid, Abdullah al-Shakeri, Ali al-Diefi, Khalil Ali Khalil, Adham al-Haderi, Mohamed al-Raba’i, Samah al-Faqih, Abdelrahman El-Hamdani, Hisham Saleh, Meqdad Mofreh, Haitham al-Ansi, Mohamed Rashed, Elian Mofreh, and Ibrahim Shaban.
The air strike was one of many launched by a Saudi-led coalition of countries that has attempted to regain control of major cities from the grip of the Houthi militia. The airstrike took place near a mountaintop air defense base that warplanes had been bombing for days, The New York Times reported. Residents suggested that the bomb had struck an underground munitions depot, the paper said.
A video on the station’s YouTube channel showed the damage to the building and graphic footage of the head injuries to Shamsan. The video also featured one staff member, Nabil el-Ayani, who said he and Shamsan were working on a story about 100 feet from the station when their car was hit in the ensuing blast. He said Shamsan was killed in the explosion.
Another video taken by the station showed the offices during the blast, with journalists taking cover and fleeing. The video was posted on the station’s YouTube channel the next day.
Shamsan reported on anti-press attacks in Yemen and also presented a weekly news show in which he reported on various issues, including arts and religion, according to his YouTube channel and Yemen Today’s YouTube channel. In the days leading up to his death, Shamsan reported on the air strikes, including on demonstrations inside and outside of the country that protested the air strikes.
Mohamed al-Radmi, the station manager, accused the Saudi-led coalition forces of targeting the station, according to the station’s website. According to news reports, the station is affiliated with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with the Houthis.
On March 30, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said in a press conference that media outlets supporting the Houthi movement would be targeted, but did not say how. The coalition website said air strikes had destroyed a major weapons depot in the area, but did not comment on Yemen Today.
CPJ’s calls and emails to the Yemen Today offices were not immediately returned.
The air strikes, which were launched on March 25 by a coalition of 10 countries and led by Saudi Arabia, fell almost daily on Sana’a, which is the current stronghold of the Houthi militia. The Saudi-led coalition aims to restore President Hadi to the presidency, according to news reports. The pace of the air strikes declined in April 2015, according to news reports.