New blow to Al Houthis as dozens killed in raid

Militiamen staged public funeral for Al Sammad, who was killed in coalition air strike

Yemeni honor guards carry the coffins of the bodyguards of Saleh Al Sammad, a senior Houthi official who were killed by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on April 19.

Sana’a: A Saudi-led coalition air strike has killed dozens of Al Houthi militiamen including two commanders, Saudi media said on Saturday, in another blow to the militia following the killing of their political chief.

Yemen’s Al Houthi militiamen on Saturday staged a public funeral for Saleh Al Sammad, head of their Supreme Political Council and effectively the militia’s second-in-command, who was killed last week in an air raid claimed by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

His funeral came hours after Saudi Arabia’s Al Ekhbariya television said two high-ranking militiamen were among more than 50 Al Houthis killed in a new strike overnight in the capital Sana’a.

The militiamen have been locked in a war since 2015 with a Saudi-led military alliance fighting to restore the legitimacy of the internationally-recognised Yemeni government.

Al Arabiya television said the strike had targeted the interior ministry in Sana’a, which is controlled by the militiamen.

The Iran-backed Al Houthis confirmed an overnight air strike on Sana’a but gave no details. The militiamen, who hail from northern Yemen, control Sana’a and parts of the country’s north — which borders Saudi Arabia — and the key Hodeida port on the Red Sea coast.

Shortly after Al Sammad’s funeral began, the coalition confirmed it had intercepted four missiles headed for the southern Saudi coastal city of Jizan, one day after the kingdom’s defence forces said they had downed a missile headed for the same area. No casualties were reported in either incident.

The militiamen have ramped up their missile attacks on Saudi Arabia this year, although only one casualty has been reported.

Saturday’s attacks came as newly-appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to land in Riyadh for meetings including talks on the Yemen conflict.

In Sana’a, Al Houthi supporters lined the streets on Saturday for the funeral of Sammad and six others killed in last Thursday’s strike.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led alliance joined the Yemen conflict, triggering what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen now stands at the brink of famine.


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