Young Jewish bride vanishes in Yemen

Conflicting reports: Did she flee her new husband's family, or was she kidnapped by a Muslim suitor?

runaway bride 88 (photo credit: )
runaway bride 88
(photo credit: )
A young Jewish woman, Lia Saed Hamdi, either fled her husband's family in Sana'a on Tuesday, or was kidnapped by a Muslim man from the family's hometown. Hamdi, who hails from the Kharef area in the northern Amran province, was married two weeks ago to Haroun Salem, a Jew from the nearby Sa'ada province. The wedding was held in Sana'a and was attended by senior government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister for Security and Defense Affairs Rashad Muhammad al-Alimi. Hamdi was living in her husband's family's home in Sana'a's Tourism City when she disappeared, Jewish community sources told the News Yemen newspaper. According to the sources, Hamdi was kidnapped by a Muslim man from Kharef whom she had refused to marry. The kidnapper reportedly also stole her jewelry and some money from her new husband. News Yemen reported that the family blamed the Tourism City security forces for failing to prevent the abduction, and even for helping to facilitate it. "Some Yemeni Jews have recently started leaving Yemen to Israel over fears of attacks, especially after a Yemeni Jew [Moshe Yaish-Nahari] was killed in Radfan of Amran [province] last year," News Yemen noted. Other Yemeni media, however, told a different story. According to the Yemen Observer Web site, Hamdi was in love with the young Muslim suitor, but her family had refused his marriage proposal. The Web site quoted a source in the Tourism City security forces who denied that a man had entered the compound where the groom's family lives. "The girl possibly was in love with another guy, so she ran away to him," the source said on condition of anonymity. "She took her jewelry with her," the source noted, adding that the guards usually prevent anyone from entering the compound, but did not restrict residents from leaving it. The Jewish community has reported the incident to the Interior Ministry.