January 2, 2016 / 9:30 AM / 2 years ago

Yemen's Houthis condemn execution of 'holy warrior' Nimr

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen's Houthi movement mourned a Shi'ite cleric executed by Saudi Arabia on Saturday as a "holy warrior", in a strong rebuke of the Sunni-dominated kingdom by the Arabian Peninsula's most powerful armed Shi'ite group, a major Saudi foe.

"The (royal) Al Saud family executed today the holy warrior, the grand cleric Nimr Baqr al-Nimr after a mock trial ... a flagrant violation of human rights," an obituary on the Houthis' official Al Maseera website said.

Maseera's TV news channel cut into its regular broadcast with mourning verses from the Quran.

Saudi Arabia and a mostly Gulf Arab alliance has been bombing the Houthis for nine months after the group, which hails from a Shi'ite sect based near Yemen's Saudi border, made an armed push in March against the embattled Yemeni government.

The Houthis say they are leading an Islamic-inspired revolution against corruption, but the kingdom fears the group is a proxy for its Shi'ite arch-rival Iran.

Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Catherine Evans

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