Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yemen Jews accused of selling wine

A new twist in the unfolding story of the 45 Yemenite Jews driven from their homes by an Islamist group, allegedly for selling wine:

SANAA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Nearly a quarter Yemen's Jews have fled their village and sought refuge at a hotel in the Arab country after militant Islamists threatened to kill them for selling alcohol, a government official said on Monday.

The official, who asked not to be named, said authorities had deployed policemen around the hotel to protect the Jews, numbering at least 45, after they escaped the village of Al Salem in the northern province of Saada two weeks ago.

Just 200 Jews live in Yemen after thousands were evacuated to Israel in 1948.

"The Shi'ite militants of (Abdel-Malik) al-Houthi sent threats to them (Jews) because they sell wine," the official told Reuters. The Jewish community denied they sold wine. Islam forbids the sale or drinking of alcohol.

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