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Top Houthi official killed in Saudi-led air strike in Yemen

25 April 2018

Earlier Monday, a spokesman for the Houthi-controlled Health Ministry, Abdel-Karim al-Kahlani, told dpa that at least 21 people were killed and 57 injured in Saudi-led airstrikes that hit a wedding party in northern Yemen.

The rebels' Supreme Political Council, the highest political body in areas under their control, says Monday that its president, Saleh al-Samad, was killed by the raid in the coastal Hodeida province.

Traditionally based in Yemen's northwest, the Houthis overran much of the country, including Sanaa, in 2014, citing anger with the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi for not honouring their rights.

The three-year-old war pits the Shiite Houthis against a regional coalition of Sunni powers led by Saudi Arabia.

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The news came hours after officials in Yemen said dozens of people were killed and wounded in an air raid on a wedding party in the country on Sunday, in another attack the Houthis blamed on the coalition. The coalition said it would investigate the report.

The death of Samad, the group's Ansarullah political council chief, dealt one of the biggest blows yet to the Houthi in a war that has killed more than 10,000 people and unleashed the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis. Mahdi al-Mashat, a former fighter who until now directed al-Houthi's office, was elected as a successor.

But the United Nations and Western relief agencies have found that of the thousands of civilians killed in the past three years, most died as a result of airstrikes by the coalition.

Footage that emerged from the scene of the airstrike shows scattered body parts and a young boy in a green shirt hugging a man's lifeless body, screaming and crying.

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He calls for a prompt, effective and transparent investigation.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday reiterated to the Saudis that they have obligations under global humanitarian law not to hit civilians during the war.

Sayyed AbdulMalik al-Houthi said that the people look at the Samad's sacrifices an incentive for giving more, steadfastness and strengthening the internal front.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has escalated its bombardments of civilian targets across Yemen.

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Top Houthi official killed in Saudi-led air strike in Yemen