40 die in Yemen as rebels overrun rival strongholds

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Updated 15 May 2014

40 die in Yemen as rebels overrun rival strongholds

SANAA: Shiite rebels have overrun strongholds of a rival Sunni tribal group in fighting that has killed at least 40 people in northern Yemen in the last two days, tribal sources said on Sunday.
The fighting compounds the challenges faced by US-allied Yemen, which is struggling to stabilize a country that is home to one of Al-Qaeda’s most active branches.
One of the poorest countries in the Arab world, it has been in turmoil since mass protests in 2011 forced long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
Tribal sources said Huthi fighters and their allies from the Hashed tribal federation seized control of Al-Khamri, the Al-Ahmar family tribal region in Omran province. An Al-Ahmar family home was burned.
The Ansarullah website, run by the Huthi group, said its fighters and allies from Hashed were “pounding the fortifications of the militias of the Al-Ahmar sons” in Al-Khamri and Zu Anash areas in Omran province.
“The Al-Ahmar militias and the religious hard-liners are fleeing from the two areas, along with military hardware and equipment,” it said.
Tribal sources said that at least 30 Huthi rebels and 10 fighters from the Hashed tribe died in the fighting. There was no independent confirmation of the figures.
The latest fighting was the most intense since clashes erupted in October. Shiite Huthi rebels, who control much of the northern Saada province on the border with Saudi Arabia, moved then against Salafis allied to the Al-Ahmar clan in Dammaj town. The Huthis accuse the Salafis of recruiting foreign fighters to attack them.


#OurHomesAreOpen: Lebanese offer spare beds to Beirut blast victims

Updated 14 min 42 sec ago

#OurHomesAreOpen: Lebanese offer spare beds to Beirut blast victims

  • Social media users have freely offered up spare beds and empty properties to victims
  • Others shared contacts of doctors who were available to suture wounds in their clinics as hospitals were overwhelmed

AMMAN: Using social media, hundreds of Lebanese have offered shelter to strangers displaced by a devastating blast, which Beirut’s governor said may have left 250,000 people homeless.
Tuesday evening’s explosion in port warehouses storing explosive material was the most powerful ever to rip through the capital, killing some 110 people, injuring about 4,000 and tearing the facades off buildings and overturning cars.
Using the hashtag #OurHomesAreOpen in Arabic and English, social media users have freely offered up spare beds and empty properties to victims, providing their names, phone numbers and details on the size and location of the accommodation.
“I wanted to do something about it, I was going crazy,” said the founder of the platform ThawraMap, originally used to identify protest locations, which is curating a list of available beds, including free accommodation from hotels.
“Today a lot more people are going to be homeless. They go to their family or friends for a day or two and then what are they going to do?” the anti-government activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who declined to publish his name for safety.

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The disaster — which rattled windows about 160km away — has united a city still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from a financial crisis rooted in corruption and economic mismanagement and a surge in coronavirus infections.
ThawraMap, or Revolution Map, has been sharing its shelter list on Twitter and Instagram, along with a map of more than 50 locations offered so far, ranging from people with extra beds in their homes to hotels providing up to 40 rooms.
Lebanon on Wednesday declared a two-week state of emergency in Beirut where some 250,000 people lost their homes in the blast, which has caused $3 to $5 billion in damage, governor Marwan Abboud told local media after taking a tour of the city.
Other city residents have been using the hashtag to make their own offers, with some volunteering transport as well in a painful reminder of the 1975 to 1990 civil war that tore the nation apart and destroyed swathes of Beirut.
“For anyone in need of a house, I have an empty bedroom with an en suite bathroom, welcoming Beirut and its people,” wrote one Twitter user Wajdi Saad.
Others shared contacts of doctors who were available to suture wounds in their clinics as hospitals were overwhelmed.
The crisis has stoked anger against Lebanon’s political elite and raised fears of hunger as it wrecked the main entry point for imports for some 6 million people, including almost 1 million Syrian refugees, according to United Nations figures.
“Beirut is more than cursed,” tweeted one user named Reyna.
“The first morning after the tragedy: nothing in Beirut is in one piece. Not the streets, not homes, not people, nothing.”
President Michel Aoun told the nation the government was “determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible, to hold the responsible and the negligent accountable, and to sanction them with the most severe punishment.”