DUBAI – A Houthi official was killed on Tuesday by gunmen in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, in a rare assassination of a civilian official in the armed movement that controls the city.
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 assassinated by “criminal elements” linked to a Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen. It said Zaid’s daughter was also in the car and was seriously injured.
The coalition did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The coalition has been fighting against 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 airstrikes 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.