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Yemen's Houthi militants raid newspaper, dismiss editor

Armed Houthi militants raid the office of the Thawra newspaper, then give chief editor's management responsibilities to his deputy
Houthi militants control entrance and exit to Yemen's city of Taizz on 10 December, 2014 (AA)

Members of the Shiite Houthi militant group on Tuesday stormed the office of a state-run Yemeni newspaper in the Hasba district of capital Sanaa, according to a source close to the newspaper.

"Armed Houthi militants, aided by several of the paper's employees, raided the office of the Thawra newspaper," the source told The Anadolu Agency.

"Houthi militants notified chief editor Faisal Makram – who wasn't present at the time – that he shouldn't come to the office after today and went on to accuse him of corruption," the source said.

"They then assigned deputy chief editor Marawan Damaj to manage the newspaper," the source added.

In January 2013, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi appointed Makram as chairman of the Thawra Press, Printing and Publishing Corporation and Damaj as his deputy.

The raid came one day after Houthi leader Abdel-Malak al-Houthi on Monday accused Hadi of providing protection to "corrupt people", in an unprecedented criticism of the Yemeni leader.

"He [Hadi] has turned himself into an umbrella for corrupt people," the Houthi leader said.

Since they took control of capital Sanaa in late September, the Houthis have sought to expand their influence to other parts of the country.

A leading member of the militants announced on Sunday that the group has taken full control of Sanaa's northern Arhab district after raiding dozens of its areas.

The Houthis' growing strength in fractious Yemen has raised fears of sectarian conflict in the poor Arab nation, which has remained in turmoil since a 2011 popular uprising ended the decades-long rule of president Ali Abdullah Saleh one year later.

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