Houthis Prevent Aid Delivery to Yemenis During Ramadan

Volunteers prepare food to be distributed for free as an iftar meal in the capital, Sanaa, during the month of Ramadan. (AFP)
Volunteers prepare food to be distributed for free as an iftar meal in the capital, Sanaa, during the month of Ramadan. (AFP)
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Houthis Prevent Aid Delivery to Yemenis During Ramadan

Volunteers prepare food to be distributed for free as an iftar meal in the capital, Sanaa, during the month of Ramadan. (AFP)
Volunteers prepare food to be distributed for free as an iftar meal in the capital, Sanaa, during the month of Ramadan. (AFP)

Houthi militias have prevented merchants and donors from distributing aid to the poor in Sanaa and other regions since the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat Friday.

“More than 13 merchants and donors were arrested in the last five days on charges of violating these bans and of distributing aid to the poor,” the sources said.

They added that Houthis instead forced merchants and affluent people in the Yemeni capital and elsewhere to distribute this aid to militia members, claiming they know best to whom it should be offered.

Bashir, a retired and a father of six children, confirmed that contrary to the previous Ramadan, his family has not received any assistance this year, whether food or cash.

He explained that his family used to receive one to three food baskets, and some cash, which donors offered to needy families.

Bashir held the Houthi militia responsible for depriving the poor of access to aid and for deteriorating their living conditions, explaining that the group continues to impose its policies of starvation and looting.

Khaled, a resident of the Al-Sunaina neighborhood in Sanaa, confirms that the Houthi restrictions on merchants and donors deprived thousands of poor families from alms for the fourth year in a row.

In his neighborhood, he said many families suffer from the most severe conditions, and that they eagerly await Ramadan to obtain aid.

Khaled accused the Houthi group of imposing these restrictions to steal aid and cash and to monopolize the distribution of the Ramadan alms to its loyalists.

The residents’ complaints were confirmed by Sanaa merchants, who told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militias continue to steal money and food aid allocated for the needy and poor Yemenis.

A donor in Sanaa said he and many merchants stopped offering assistance to the needy after Houthis threatened dozens of merchants and philanthropists.

The militia’s restrictions came as international organizations warned that Yemenis are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis with over 17 million people still experiencing high levels of food insecurity, 75 percent of them are women and children.

Oxfam issued a press release Wednesday saying that rounds of currency depreciation, an economy on the brink of collapse, and sharp increases in the cost of fuel and other key commodities, have left millions more Yemenis in danger of catastrophic hunger.

“As Yemen enters its ninth year of war, its people are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis with more than two million children acutely malnourished,” it warned.

Country Director of Oxfam in Yemen, Ferran Puig, said: “The people of Yemen are exhausted by war. Rising food prices and unpaid salaries mean even basic food items have been pushed beyond the reach of many Yemeni people.”

He said donors must not turn their backs on what remains of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises.

“It is past time that world leaders exerted real pressure to bring all sides back to the table so they can bring a permanent end to the conflict,” Puig affirmed.

Oxfam therefore called for the international community to provide adequate funding of life-saving aid, a rescue economic package to stabilize the economy and put money into people’s pockets, and increased efforts to negotiate a lasting comprehensive peace in Yemen.



Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
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Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)

Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government "does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins," the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza's al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas fighters stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says its campaign is intended to eliminate Hamas as a threat and free the remaining hostages.