AL-MUKALLA: A Yemeni politician was gunned down in the Houthi-held city of Sanaa on Thursday shortly after an armed group executed a senior judge, raising speculation about infighting among the Houthis.
Residents in Sanaa said that unidentified men shot dead Brig. Gen. Abdullah Mohammed Al-Kibsi, a former MP and a supporter of the Iran-backed terrorist Houthis, outside his house in Al-Hasaba neighborhood, the latest in a string of drive-by killings targeting Houthi-allied military and political figures.
Yemeni journalist Sam Al-Ghobari described the little-known politician as a supporter of the Houthi military offensive on the central city of Marib, which began early last year.
Houthi accounts on social media blamed the killing on a family feud, claiming that their security services are on the hunt for the killer.
Similarly, an armed group early on Thursday executed Mohammed Hamran, a Supreme Court justice, two days after kidnapping him from a Sanaa street.
Citing previous incidents, Yemeni government officials and activists accused the Houthis of kidnapping and executing the judge after he refused the militia’s pressure to legalize their pillage of public land and property, as well as confiscating opponents’ homes.
Moammer Al-Eryani, the internationally recognized government’s information minister, said the judge was murdered as a result of Houthi-supporting journalists aggressively inciting terrorists to attack him. He accused the Houthis of attempting to purge judges who challenge their orders.
He said on Twitter that the heinous act is part of a series of systematic crimes against the judiciary and its staff, who refuse to respond to the Houthis’ instructions.
He added that the murder is part of plans by the terror group to tighten their control over the judiciary and use it to cover up their crimes and legitimize the looting of lands and real estate. The Iran-backed group also wants to use the judiciary to settle its political scores, Al-Eryani added.
The Houthis claimed to have apprehended the men who murdered the judge.
On social media, the judge’s friends expressed condolences and called for the killers to be brought to justice.
Abdul Wahab Qatran, an outspoken judge based in Sanaa, described Hamran as “the noblest, most generous and the bravest” judge he has ever met.
Several politicians, academics, activists and security and military figures who are loyal to the Houthis have been assassinated across Yemeni provinces under the Houthi control.
The killings have confirmed reports of bloody fighting between various groups within the movement.
Hans Grundberg, the UN’s Yemen envoy, on Wednesday strongly condemned deadly Houthi attacks on the densely populated city of Taiz and called on the militias and other parties in Yemen to honor their commitments under the UN-brokered truce.
“I condemn the attack that was launched from areas controlled by Ansar Allah (a formal term for the Houthis) on Sunday night in Dabab area in Taiz that left a number of soldiers killed or wounded and threatens to seriously worsen the humanitarian situation for civilians,” the envoy said in a statement.
The Houthis attacked Yemeni government troops at the western gate to the besieged city of Taiz on Sunday, resulting in at least 10 deaths and numerous injuries.
The Houthis launched further attacks on government forces on Tuesday and Wednesday, inflicting more casualties on both soldiers and civilians, according to locals and officials.