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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

Mass wedding for Yemeni resistance fighters who lost limbs defending Taez

Wedding was paid for by a philanthropist and organised by the Muath Developmental Foundation, an NGO that provides food for the poor and coordinates with other organisations to help people affected by the war in Taez
Twenty grooms celebrate their weddings in Jamal Street, central Taez, on February 4, 2016. Tareq Al Mallah for The National
Twenty grooms celebrate their weddings in Jamal Street, central Taez, on February 4, 2016. Tareq Al Mallah for The National
TAEZ, YEMEN // The time and place was Saturday morning in Jamal Street in Taez city centre. The occasion: the wedding of 20 young men from the popular resistance militias who had all lost a limb defending their city against Houthi rebels.

The mass wedding was paid for by a philanthropist and organised by the Muath Developmental Foundation, an NGO that provides food for the poor and coordinates with other organisations to help people affected by the war in Taez.

The ceremony took place in the street before a party for the grooms was held at the local university. Hundreds of Taez residents attended the wedding and many were dancing in the streets, the celebrations a welcome relief from nearly two years of war.

The foundation said it organised the wedding to show appreciation for the young men's sacrifices in defending the city.

Adnan Ismail, 25, was shot in his left leg by a Houthi sniper while fighting the rebels in December 2015 in his native Al Misrakh district, about 10 kilometres outside the city. His leg had to be amputated at the knee as a result of the injury.

"I was not prepared to surrender to the Houthis rebels. I wanted to to do my duty and defend my area and I was willing to sacrifice my soul to stop the Houthis taking over my home," said Mr Ismail, who still lives in Al Misrakh with his parents

Mr Ismail said he was far from thinking about marriage when he joined the fight against the rebels, but after becoming disabled he felt he needed someone to take care of him.

"I want to thank the charitable man and Muath foundation for this wedding, as I think all of the injured need someone to take care of them. I am so happy today and hope to see all of the single, injured people married."

The foundation's financial manager, Haroon Rasheed, said it would continue helping fighters who had lost limbs by finding more sponsors for their weddings.

"This is the first batch and we are planning for others," Mr Rasheed told The National.

He said the philanthropist behind Saturday's mass wedding, who asked to remain anonymous, had also given each groom 650,000 rials (Dh9,545).

Under the government policy of incorporating the popular resistance into the military, these fighters wounded in combat will receive pensions as retired soldiers.

People attending the wedding said they fully supported the foundation's plans and urged others who had the means to follow suit and put the war wounded at the head of the queue for receiving help.

Taha Al Barakani, one of the guests said: "We can live with little food and we may struggle to leave or enter the city, but the injured need someone to take care of them because they cannot manage to move around on their own, so they have to be the priority."

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Updated: February 5, 2017 04:00 AM

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