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Senior Houthi official killed in coalition air raid last week, Yemen rebels say

Mohammed Huwais, AFP | In this file photo taken on January 31, 2017 the leader of the Huthi Shiite rebels' Supreme Political Council, Saleh Ali al-Sammad, attends a meeting with freed prisoners in Sanaa.

The administrative chief of Houthi-controlled northern Yemen was killed in a Saudi-led coalition air raid last week, Houthi-run television reported on Monday.


Saleh al-Samad was the most senior Houthi official to be killed by the coalition since it intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015 to try and push back the Houthis after they drove the internationally-recognised government into exile in Riyadh.

The Houthis' al-Masirah TV said Samad was killed on Thursday in Hodeidah province. There was no immediate comment from the coalition.

Samad was second on the coalition's most wanted list of Houthi leaders, after the group's leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi. The coalition had offered a $20 million reward for any information that led to Samad's capture, according to Saudi-owned broadcaster al-Arabiya TV.

The death of Samad, the group's Ansarullah political council chief, dealt a big blow to the Houthis in a three-year-old war that has killed more than 10,000 people and unleashed the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis.

Al-Masirah reported that the Houthis had appointed Mahdi al-Mashat, previously director of Abdel Malek al-Houthi's office, to replace Samad.

The coalition says the Houthis are armed and supported by Saudi arch-adversary Iran - charges the group and Tehran deny.

The coalition has carried out thousands of air strikes in Yemen that have hit schools, markets and hospitals, killing hundreds of people - though it says it does not target civilians.


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