Houthi minister shot and killed in Sanaa ‘was victim of internal feud’

Hassan Zaid was a founding member of the Al-Haq party. (AFP/File)
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Updated 27 October 2020

Houthi minister shot and killed in Sanaa ‘was victim of internal feud’

  • Hassan Zaid, minister of youth and sports in the Houthi administration, died from his wounds after gunmen opened fire on his car
  • Hardline Houthis from the rebels’ heartland are said to be settling scores with other figures

Al-MUKALLA: Gunmen shot and killed a senior Houthi official in Sanaa on Tuesday as an internal feud among the Iran-backed militia group threatened to spiral out of control.

Hassan Zaid, minister of youth and sports in the Houthi administration, died in hospital from his wounds after gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on his car in an area of the Yemeni capital that houses embassies.
His daughter, who was driving the car, was wounded in the attack. Witnesses said she cried for help and pleaded with passers-by to rescue her dying father.

The Houthi interior ministry alleged, without evidence, that Zaid was shot by “criminal elements” linked to the Saudi-led military coalition supporting the internationally recognized government.
However, Zaid was the most prominent of several Houthi officials killed this year in the capital and other militia-controlled areas, and experts told Arab News he was the victim of infighting between rival political wings.

Hardline Houthis from Saada, the rebels’ heartland, are settling scores with moderate figures such as Zaid who joined the group later, analysts said.

Zaid was a founding member of the Al-Haq party and a senior member of the Joint Meeting Parties, a gathering of opposition groups formed during former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s administration. He became a minister in Khaled Bahah’s government in 2014.

When the Houthis overthrew Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government in early 2015, Zaid switched sides and joined the rebels.

In 2017, he proposed closing schools for a year and sending students and teachers to fight. In 2017, the Arab coalition placed bounties on dozens of Houthi leaders, including Zaid, accusing them of orchestrating and supporting Houthi terror.

Meanwhile dozens of Houthi fighters, army troops and allied tribesmen have been killed in the past two days during fierce battles in the provinces of Sanaa, Jouf and Marib, local officers said on Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesman, told Arab News that army troops backed by air support from coalition warplanes engaged in heavy fighting with Houthis in the Najed Al-Ateq region in Sanaa after rebels tried to seize a strategic military base.

“The national army and the tribesmen have foiled Houthi attacks and advanced on the ground,” Majili said.


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 16 min 1 sec ago

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.