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Houthi De facto Authority Shuts Down Several Hajj, Umrah Travel Agencies

The Houthi authority has shut down several Hajj and Umrah travel agencies in the capital Sana’a and other areas under their control, and are pursuing their owners, according to international media outlets.

The director of one of these agencies based in Sana’a said that a large Houthi campaign is underway to shut down Hajj and Umrah travel agencies on the basis of weak justifications.

The campaign was launched at the same time that the Yemeni Ministry of Endowments and Guidance issued a list of approved Hajj and Umrah travel agencies.

The Houthis also imposed an additional “operating expenses” on the agencies for each pilgrim that registered with them and said that the money would go to the Ministry of Endowments and Guidance of the Houthi de facto authority.

The dirctor, who does not wish to be identified for security reasons, said that the agencies refused to pay these charges and considered them “unreasonable.” The Houthis responded by closing 18 Hajj and Umrah agencies in Sanaa alone and hung signs on their doors reading “closed by the Ministry of Endowments and Guidance, Department of Hajj and Umrah.”

Houthi militias have tried to create obstacles for Yemeni pilgrims in areas under their control last year by seizing their passports and impeding their departure.

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