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Gunmen kill ‘wanted’ Yemeni rebel minister

Unidentified gunmen in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa shot dead a Huthi government minister as he drove his car, also wounding his daughter, officials said Tuesday.

People wait outside a hospital in Yemen's rebel-held capital of Sanaa on Tuesday after Hassan Zaid, a minister in the Huthi administration, was shot while driving
People wait outside a hospital in Yemen’s rebel-held capital of Sanaa on Tuesday after Hassan Zaid, a minister in the Huthi administration, was shot while driving

Yemen is mired in civil war between Iran-backed Huthi rebels — who control the capital but whose administration is not internationally recognised — and a beleaguered government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition.

Hassan Zaid, minister for youth and sports in the Huthi administration, was wanted by the Saudi-led coalition, which had offered a $10 million bounty for information leading to his arrest.

In 2017, Zaid sparked anger when he proposed suspending school for a year and sending pupils and teachers to the frontline instead.

The Huthi interior ministry said Zaid was driving his car when it was shot at, leading to his “martyrdom” after suffering serious injuries.

They said an investigation into the attack — a rare occurrence in Sanaa — is under way.

However, they indicated that the Saudi-led coalition was responsible, describing it as a “criminal act and part of the aggressors’ plan to target national figures”.

But an official from Yemen’s internationally recognised government told AFP that the killing was “likely to be an assassination operation due to internal disputes and conflicts”.

The Huthi rebels, who control Sanaa and much of the north, have been fighting the government since 2014.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in the conflict the following year.

In April 2018, the Huthi political leader Saleh al-Sammad — who was also on the wanted list — was killed in what the insurgents said was an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition. AFP

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