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Saudi-led coalition says infighting killed senior Houthi official

FILE PHOTO: A car with a picture of Ibrahim Badreddin al-Houthi, brother of the Houthi movement leader, is seen during his funeral in Saada, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Naif Rahma/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - A senior Houthi official in Yemen and brother of the movement’s leader was killed because of infighting, the Saudi-led coalition said on Sunday, appearing to give a different version of events than the Iran-allied group.

The Houthis on Friday said Ibrahim Badreddin al-Houthi was assassinated in the capital Sanaa by “the treacherous hands affiliated with the U.S.-Israeli aggression and its tools”, without providing details. He was a brother of leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi.

But the coalition, which is battling the Houthis in Yemen’s war, said he had been killed as part of an “internal operation” because of a dispute between different factions of the group and within its leadership, Saudi state news agency SPA said, citing a statement.

The Houthis control Sanaa and most urban centres. The main focus in Yemen in recent days has been in the south of the country where southern separatists effectively took over the port city of Aden, the seat of the interim government, fracturing the alliance that had been battling the Houthis.

Writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Grant McCool