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Stampede at aid center kills at least 80 in Yemen’s capital

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Sanaa: At least 80 people were killed and more than 220 others injured in a stampede Wednesday at an aid center in the Bab Al-Yemen area of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, according to the Houthi-run health authority.

Anis Al-Subaihi, the official spokesman for the Houthi health authority, confirmed the incident to Xinhua, saying that medical teams immediately responded and transferred the injured to several hospitals in the capital for treatment.

The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV reported that the interior ministry of the group claimed the disaster was caused by a stampede during the random distribution of cash by local merchants, without organization or collaboration with the ministry.

Abdul Khaliq Al-Ajri, spokesman for the ministry, was quoted by the TV as saying that the authorities have arrested two merchants responsible for the uncoordinated distribution of money and are investigating the incident.

Many Yemenis, impoverished by years of conflicts, flocked to charity centers for basic needs as Eid al-Fitr, one of the most important festivals for Muslims, is approaching.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million and pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation.

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