Yemen stampede toll rises to 79 killed, 110 injured: Houthi officials

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At least 79 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede that broke out in Yemen’s capital during a charity distribution, Houthi health officials told AFP on Thursday.

The dead and injured have been moved to nearby hospitals and those responsible for the distribution were taken into custody, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the rebel’s Saba news agency.

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Authorities have called for an investigation.

The Houthi’s interior ministry did not provide an exact toll but said “dozens of people were killed due to a stampede during a random distribution of sums of money by some merchants”.

The distribution in the Bab al-Yemen area of Houthi-controlled Sanaa came days ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Videos circulating on social media showed bodies lying on the ground inside a large complex as people clamored around them.

AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the footage.

Yemen’s conflict broke out in 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi militia seized Sanaa, prompting an Arab coalition to intervene the following year to prop up the internationally recognized government.

Fighting in Yemen has triggered what the United Nations describes as one of the world’s worst humanitarian tragedies.

More than 21.7 million -- two-thirds of the population -- need humanitarian assistance this year, according to the UN.

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