Troops seal off hospital

There's confusion in Yemen over the apparent forcible closureof an Iranian-funded hospital in the capital, Sana'a.

The hospital, which employs 120 staff (eight of them Iranian) was sealed off by security forces yesterday amid claims that it had links with the Houthi (Shia) rebels. The government has repeatedly hinted at Iranian involvement in the Houthi conflict, though nothing very substantial has so far been proven.

A government spokesman later denied the move against the hospital had anything to do with politics but said it owes the Endowments Ministry 27 million riyals ($130,000) in unpaid rent for the building.

In other developments, the opposition website, Sahwa Net, 
says the state-run printing house has refused to print the latest edition of al-Masdar newspaper. In the southern province of Lahj, the ruling party's headquarters was severely damaged by fire early yesterday. As I recall, this is the third or fourth fire at a government or ruling party building in the south during the last few months.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 14 October 2009.