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Yemen: Houthi govt condemns 'Al-Qaeda's demolition' of ancient mosque in Hudaydah

A Yemeni fighter of the pro-government forces walks with a rifle in the Houthi-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah on December 15, 2018. [AFP/Getty Images]
A Yemeni fighter of the pro-government forces walks with a rifle in the Houthi-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah on December 15, 2018. [AFP/Getty Images]

Officials in Yemen's Houthi-led government have spoken out against the demolition of an ancient mosque in the province of Al-Hudaydah on Saturday, blaming "Al-Qaeda" elements.

The Sanaa-based General Authority for Awqaf (Endowments) have condemned the destruction carried out to parts of the historic Al-Noor Mosque in the Al-Qataba area, north of the Al-Khokha district.

The authority blamed the attack on Al-Qaeda elements, said to be led by a member of the Saudi-established Presidential Leadership Council, Abu Zara'a Al-Maharami.

The mosque dates back 700 years comes after a similar attack in May against the Al-Qataba Mosque in the same area, attributed to joint Saudi and Emirati-led coalition forces.

READ: Suspected Al-Qaeda attacks kill at least 10 Yemen soldiers

Sharing an image on twitter of the damaged mosque, a media official with the Houthi movement said "The Takfiris, the tools of aggression, are destroying a 700-year-old historical mosque in the Al-Khokha district of Al-Hudaydah Governorate, out of hatred for the Yemeni heritage."

A statement by the authority said this a crime that should be ascribed to the criminal record of the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenary forces that have destroyed hundreds of archaeological and historical mosques and shrines, with the aim of obliterating the historical and cultural heritage of Yemen.

After both incidents, the Awqaf authority called on international organisations and the UN to work to preserve and protect Yemen's historical sites.

A statement has since been issued by the UAE-backed Giants Brigade militia which is based in the country's west coast, denying any involvement in the mosque's destruction but acknowledged some individuals from the Brigade were involved in their "personal capacity," not reflecting the militia's leadership.

While claiming to have taken legal measures against those implicated, the Brigade also called on the security authorities in the province and the western coast to initiate an investigation into the incident.

READ: UAE forces are displacing Yemenis from Abd Al-Kuri Island

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