UNESCO condemned on Friday the Saudi bombing raid on the Old City of Sana’a.
“I am profoundly distressed by the loss of human lives as well as by the damage inflicted on one of the world’s oldest jewels of Islamic urban landscape,” UNESCO director general Irina Bokova said.
A Saudi warplane struck in the early hours of Friday Sana’a’s Old City, killing at least six people. A missile hit al-Qasimi quarter without exploding.
She said she was shocked “by the images of these magnificent many-storeyed tower-houses and serene gardens reduced to rubble.”
The pre-dawn air strike destroyed five houses completely and damaged many others in the city. Among the buildings destroyed was the magnificent complex of traditional houses in the al-Qasimi neighborhood, bordering an urban garden (Miqshama), near the Sailah water channel.
Bokova underlined that the destruction would only exacerbate the humanitarian situation in the country, reiterating her call to all parties to respect and protect cultural heritage in Yemen.
She stressed that “the historic value and memories enshrined in these sites have been irreparably damaged or destroyed.”
“This heritage bears the soul of the Yemeni people, it is a symbol of a millennial history of knowledge and it belongs to all humankind,” the UNESCO Director General said.
The Old City of Sana’a was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1986.
It has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years and was a major center for the propagation of Islam, boasting more than 100 mosques, 14 public baths and more than 6,000 houses built before the 11th century.