Al Masirah TV, the main television news outlet run by the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen, cited the health director in Sanaa as saying that in addition to the dead, many people were injured, 13 of whom were in serious condition.
A spokesman for the Houthi-controlled interior ministry said in a statement that the stampede broke out during traders distributing zakat in the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The spokesperson described the incident as ‘tragic’.
What is Zakat?
Zakat is a kind of charitable donation. It is obligatory for every capable Muslim to distribute 2.5 percent of his total accumulated wealth as Zakat to the poor every year.
Quoting two eyewitnesses involved in the rescue effort, it was told that hundreds of people had gathered in a school for this zakat. Here every person was going to get 5,000 Yemeni Riyal or about 1500 rupees in Indian currency.
The interior ministry also said in a separate statement that two businessmen responsible for organizing the zakat event have been detained and the matter is under investigation.
The Houthi-controlled interior ministry did not give an exact number of the dead, but said “dozens of people were killed in a stampede when some merchants distributed zakat”. A Houthi security official told AFP on condition of anonymity that several women and children were among the dead.
In which dead bodies can be seen lying on the ground inside a large complex and people gathered around are shouting. Although it could not be independently confirmed that these videos are related to this incident.
Civil war broke out in Yemen in 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels captured Sanaa, prompting a Saudi-led coalition to intervene the following year to support the internationally recognized government. Due to this civil war, the economy there was ruined and many people are facing severe economic crisis.