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Taiz: Fierce Clashes Flare up between Pro-Government Forces and Salafis, Civilians Fall Victim

Sami Almaqtari

Taiz, April 24 (Republican Yemen) – People in Taiz woke up today to the sound of exchanging fire using heavy weapons __ believed to be the heaviest.

Scores of civilians and fighters were killed and injured as intense clashes broke out between Salafis and pro-government forces in an area called The Old City.

Two weeks ago, a meeting was held in the Governate Office and reached an agreement that Salafis, headed by Abo Alabas, would hand outlaws to the Security Authority in the city.

There was a backlash over both Salafis and pro-government forces. The Salafis did not cooperate to hand the wanted criminals while pro-government forces did not take the safety of civilians into account.

Even though pro-government forces say they have a security campaign against outlaws, civilians are the ones who fall victim to this chaos.

“They sniped an orphan kid called Hashem al-Aizari. We don’t know who did it but this security campaign has to protect civilians, not to endanger their lives,” said activist Maha Awn.

Hashem al-Aizari was killed during clashes between Salafis and pro-government forces in Taiz.

She said she had met the orphan child last week and written his name in a list designated to help orphans but was shocked to learn that he was shot dead today.

Dr. Abdul Rahim al-Sama’i, director of the health office in the governorate, confirmed that Aljumhori Hospital was targeted by outlaws.

Dr. al-Sama’i said that the Operating Room and the maternity ward were hit by a number of shells and bullets.

Some streets were blocked and civilians were advised not to leave their homes. Other residents in The Old City are still trapped in their homes while clashes take place in their area.

“We had to close the center because many students were trapped in their homes or could not come due to cutting off streets,” Ahmed Alwajeeh, the Academic Manager of Yemeni Canadian Training Center, told Republican Yemen.

Salafis, for their part, accused the security campaign of turning a blind eye to criminals in the city and focusing on targeting them for no solid reason.

Later today, a joint meeting between Security Committee and the Local Authority was held in Taiz to discuss the unfortunate events. They agreed to form a committee that aims to reach a ceasefire deal between Salafis and pro-government forces.

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