Houthi fighters storm Al Jazeera bureau in Sanaa

Raid comes just hours after Doha-based media network airs documentary on looting of heavy weaponry by group.

The Al Jazeera offices witnessed a similar raid two years ago [File: Yahya Arhab/EPA]
The Al Jazeera offices witnessed a similar raid two years ago [File: Yahya Arhab/EPA]

Yemen’s Houthi fighters have stormed the closed Al Jazeera Network bureau in the capital Sanaa and stolen the remaining equipment.

Sunday’s raid came just hours after the Arabic channel broadcast a documentary film titled Stolen Weapons in Yemen, discussing the group’s looting of arms.

“Eyewitnesses said that two cars carrying more than 10 fighters raided the office and began looting what has been left of furniture, desks and TV screens,” Saeed Thabit, head of Al Jazeera’s office in Yemen, said in an Arabic statement on his Facebook page.

The film investigates how Houthi rebels managed to obtain heavy weaponry, where they store the arms, as well as the quantity and types of arms they have been using.

Two years ago, the office witnessed a similar attack in which the Al Jazeera team was assaulted and received death threats.

In 2015, Houthi fighters abducted an Al Jazeera broadcast engineer and a security guard in Sanaa.

The Arabian Peninsula country has been torn apart by conflict since 2014, when the Iran-allied Houthi fighters, in cooperation with troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured large expanses of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

Devastating toll

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies began their military campaign in Yemen in March last year with the aim of preventing Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Saleh from taking control of the country.

The conflict has also taken a devastating toll on Yemen’s health system, which is on the verge of collapse, a recent UNICEF report says.

Humanitarian groups have struggled to deliver aid to large parts of the country owing to the fighting and air strikes, with the medical aid charity Doctors Without Borders calling the situation “extremely challenging”.

Several medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed.

The coalition has also imposed a sea blockade on Yemen and air strikes have led to a virtual lockdown of Sanaa.

Source: Al Jazeera


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