Stampede in Yemen’s capital kills and injures dozens

A stampede at an event to distribute financial aid in Yemen’s capital late Wednesday resulted in dozens of people being killed or injured, Houthi officials said.

Authorities gave no breakdown on the numbers of dead and injured.

The crush took place in the Old City in the center of Sanaa when hundreds of poor people gathered at the event organized by merchants without coordination with local authorities, according to the Houthi-run Interior Ministry.

The ministry said dozens of casualties were taken to nearby hospitals.

Eyewitnesses Abdel-Rahman Ahmed and Yahia Mohsen said armed Houthis shot in the air in an attempt to control the crowd, apparently striking an electrical wire and causing it to explode. That sparked panic and people began stampeding, they said.

The Houthi-run Interior Ministry said it had detained two organizers and an investigation was underway.

Yemen’s capital has been controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthis since they descended from their northern stronghold in 2014, and removed the internationally recognized government.

The Houthi move prompted a Saudi-led coalition to intervene in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government.

The conflict has turned in recent years into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The war has killed more than 150,000 people, including fighters and civilians, and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.


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