Ahmed, 13, was picking guava fruit from trees in the Al-Jahmalia district of Taiz with four friends on Sept. 18 when the bombs fell.
After trying in vain to persuade his friends into a game of soccer, he’d wandered off. Minutes later a shell, fired by Houthi-Saleh forces, struck, shaking the earth beneath Ahmed’s feet. He ran back to check on his friends, only to arrive in time to watch the youngest, Rayan, 6, take his last breath on the street. The limbs of the others, ages 15, 14, and 12, were scattered across the narrow pathway between traditional stone houses.
“At the beginning of the war, we used to get scared. But now we are used to it,” said Ahmed, the crackle of gunfire and shelling echoing in the distance. He was standing in the same street where he’d watched his friends die two weeks earlier.