Sheffield student blown up in car beside his mother

A 'kind and loving' Sheffield student has been blown up in a car beside his mother in Yemen, who was also seriously injured in the explosion.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 12:03 pm

Fuad Al-Naseri, who lived with his father and three of his younger siblings in Sheffield city centre, was killed instantly when a bomb went off in the war-torn city of Aden on Sunday evening.

The 20-year-old, who was due to begin studying engineering at Sheffield Hallam University next month, having previously attended The Sheffield College, had been visiting his mother for the first time in six years when the tragedy unfolded.

Family friends have spoken of their horror at Fuad's killing, in what they say was a targeted attack, and at a gruesome video showing his remains in the wreckage of the vehicle which was cruelly shared with grief-stricken relatives.

Fuad Al-Naseri

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They are desperately trying to get the surviving family members united in the UK for their safety.

Caroline Foster, who is a close friend of the family and took them to the airport when they flew out last month, said: "I was on the floor when I heard what had happened. I nearly passed out. It's barbaric. The world is so cruel.

"Everyone who knew Fuad described him as the most well-mannered, kindest and most loving kid they'd ever met. He worked so hard at his studies and was a straight A student.

Family friends said Fuad had lived in Sheffield for four years and had gained a place at Sheffield Hallam University, where he was due to begin studying engineering next month

"The family should all be here together, where they will be safe and people can support them. These children shouldn't be separated from their mother any longer."

Hussein Awad, another family friend, told how Fuad had been smuggled out of Yemen when he was just 14 and spent two years in Cairo, Egypt, before coming to Sheffield, where he was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

He lived in Sheffield with his father Abdulwahid, a wealthy businessman who was granted British citizenship in 2013, and three younger siblings aged between 12 and 14, who followed Fuad over from Yemen and had also been granted indefinite leave to remain.

Fuad's mother Fowzia remained in Yemen with their two youngest children, aged two and four, who both have British citizenship.

Family friends of Fuad, Caroline Foster, Margaret Fusco and Hussein Awad, have spoken of their horror at his death

Mr Awad said she had been unable to follow her husband and their older children over to the UK as her lack of English prevented her from applying for British citizenship and UK immigration officials refused to accept there was a war in Yemen which would have entitled her to refugee status.

He told how Fuad, who was a keen boxer and attended The Gym in Shalesmoor, knew his life would be at risk in Yemen - where a 20ft wall surrounds the family mansion to protect it from attack after grenades were previously lobbed into the grounds - but he was desperate to see his mother again, having been separated from her for so long.

Fuad and his mother had just left the family home to go shopping on Sunday evening, said Mr Awad, when an abandoned bus packed with explosives was detonated as the car passed.

Fowzia lost her left leg in the blast and remains critically ill in hospital in Jordan, where Mr Awad said medics are battling to save her other leg.

Her husband and their two youngest children are with her, while the three older children are being cared for by a relative back in Yemen.

"They could be killed at any time over there, and the whole family should be allowed to stay in the UK because it's cruel letting children go without a mother here," said Mr Awad.

The older siblings are due to fly back to the UK next week to resume their studies, but it is not yet known whether they will be able to return as Aden airport has been closed due to the conflict raging over there.

Mr Awad said Fuad's parents were not involved in politics but they and their children had been targeted as a result of the family's wealth. He added that it was not yet known who was responsible for Fuad's death, with no group having claimed responsibility.

He told how there is a large Yemeni community in Sheffield, estimated at between 6,000 and 7,000 people, many of whom have lost loved ones in the civil war.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today said heavy fighting in Aden between various armed groups, principally forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, opposing the southern separatist movement, had left many people dead and wounded.

The charity described the situation there as 'total chaos', telling how since war broke out in March 2015 its facilities had been hit six times, in five cases following airstrikes launched by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition trying to restore the former Yemeni government.

Margaret Fusco, a lawyer representing Fuad's family, told how they had faced a struggle to get him and his siblings to the UK and would fight to ensure his mother and her two youngest children could join the rest of the family in Sheffield.

The Star has contacted the Home Office for a response.