DUBAI (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead a Houthi official in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Tuesday, a rare killing of a civilian administrator in the city controlled by the armed movement.
Hassan Zaid, minister of sports and youth in the Houthi administration, died in hospital from his wounds after gunmen opened fire on his car in an area of the capital that houses embassies, two sources close to his family told Reuters.
Houthi-run Al Masirah television confirmed the killing, citing the group’s interior ministry as saying Zaid was shot by “criminal elements” linked to a Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen.
Zaid’s daughter was also in the car and was seriously wounded, it said.
The coalition did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. Zaid was on a wanted list of Houthi officials issued by the Western-backed coalition in 2017.
The coalition has been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis for more than five years, since the movement ousted Yemen’s internationally recognised government from Sanaa.
Last year, a senior Houthi official and brother of the movement’s leader was killed in Sanaa. The group blamed “treacherous hands” associated with the coalition, while the alliance said his death was caused by infighting.
In 2018, coalition air strikes on Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast killed the president of the Houthi-backed political body which runs most of northern Yemen.
The United Nations is trying to revive peace talks to end the war which has killed more than 100,000 people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.
The Houthi’s foreign minister met with Iran’s new ambassador to Sanaa on Tuesday and discussed strengthening ties, Houthi-run Saba Net news reported.
Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari, Maher Chmaytelli and Lisa Barrington; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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