Yemeni minister tours Taiz defying Houthi siege

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Yemen’s Minister of Water and Environment Ezzi Shuraim defied the rebels’ siege of Taiz, southwest of the country, and visited the city and toured its streets on Saturday.

This is the first visit of its kind in Taiz which is besieged by Houthi militias and forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Shuraim toured the city and inspected its situation and the consequences of the rebels’ war which has been on for almost three years.

Shuraim said that his visit aims to confirm to brothers, friends, organizations and donors that Taiz is recovering and to push them to contribute to helping the city go back to normal, the Yemeni news agency reported.

The minister met with officials in Taiz and discussed means to operate some wells to provide water. They also discussed the strategic project to desalinate Taiz water as he confirmed they will begin executing the plan soon by establishing a desalination plant in Mocha upon support from Saudi Arabia.

During his tour, Shuraim visited water institutions in the center of city and visited the scene of the massacre which the rebels committed on Friday and which killed at least 14, mostly children. He also visited wounded soldiers in the Revolutionary Hospital.

Shuraim’s visit was welcomed by Yemenis as many took to social media to say that the visit sent a significant message to the rebels and which stipulates that the siege of Taiz and massacres against its people are approaching an end and the rest of the province will be soon liberated.

Houthi militias have imposed a siege on Taiz for more than two and a half years now, and they have rejected all international decisions to lift the siege off civilians.

On August 18, 2016, government forces, aided by the Saudi-led coalition, broke part of the siege on the southwestern side.

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