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  Updated: February 15, 2006

Yemeni forces hit Shia regions with chemical weapons during Ashura days

By: Sultan Ahmed

SANAA, Yemen: Yemeni forces and its allies, anti-Shia groups, conducted attack against Shia regions i.e. governorate of Sa’ada in areas of At-Talah, Al-Saifi, Al-Salem, An-Naqa’a region and many others during Ashura days which are commemorated with holding majalis in memory of Imam Hussein (p) and his 72 faithful companions.

According to local Shias the forces used chemical weapons in the attack which left scores of people dead and injured.

They said the government has banned media, Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies from entering these areas.

Shias comprise 50 percent of the Yemeni population.

Meanwhile, aid agencies have expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in the northern governorate of Sa'ada following the attack as they say they are unable to access affected areas.

"We're concerned about the needs in Sa'ada but don't have any information on the humanitarian situation there," said Hisham Hasan, a communications delegate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sana.

Local sources said recent attack during Ashura days have reportedly led to the displacement of scores of people from the villages of As-Salem, Nushur, Bani Muath, Suhar, An-Naqa'a, Kutaf and Al-Khafji.

With no aid agencies operating in the area and with attacks taking place over large, remote regions, precise numbers of the displaced remain unclear. Many have reportedly retreated into surrounding mountains or to neighboring areas.

"The people who fled to the mountains are in a miserable situation, lacking food and water," said Hussein Saleh (not his real name), a tribesman from Sa'ada.

Local Shias have appealed to all world organizations and Maraje Ozzam to take immediate step to save them.


 
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