The political leader of Al Houthi regime in Sana’a, Saleh Al Sammad, was killed in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition, the Iran-backed militia said on Monday. Al Sammad, president of the Al Houthi regime’s Supreme Political Council, was killed in the eastern province of Hodeida on Thursday afternoon, the militia said in a statement.
Local media reports said Al Sammad was in the Red Sea province inciting local peace people to fight off a huge offensive by thousands of elite forces led by General Tareq Mohammad Abdullah Saleh.
Mahdi Al Mashat, a member of the Council and former secretary to Al Houthi chief Abdul Malek Al Houthi, has been appointed president of the Council, the statement added.
Al Sammad was a frequent visitor to Hodeida, overseeing the military training of the militia. His death is a major blow to Al Houthis, as he was seen by the militia as “the president of their government”, analysts said last night, and considered as “an acceptable face who met with international envoys”, they added. His killing will weaken Al Houthis’ position in Yemen, Rajeh Badi of the legitimate Yemeni government told Sky News Arabia from Riyadh. He said the raid, that killed Al Sammad, was “the result of a very meticulous intelligence operation by the coalition forces,” he added. The death of Al Sammad comes at a time when the militia suffered big losses in recent battles on the western coastal areas, which include Hodeida.
Commenting on the impact of Al Sammad’s death, Colonel Abdul Basit Al Baher, the deputy spokesperson for Yemen’s army in Taiz, told Gulf News that the killing of Al Samad was an indication of a big rift within the movement. He said some insiders led the fighter jets to his location. “This is the president of the Council. His movements are secretive. I think some people within the movement gave his location to the Saudi- led coalition,” he said by telephone from a battlefield in Taiz.
Al Baher expected an escalation in Al Houthi shelling and attacks to avenge the death of their leader. “They will shell cities and kill civilians before giving up,” he said. Al Houthi official media said that their military Council held an emergency meeting in Sana’a to consider response to the airstrike.
Al Sammad’s replacement, Al Mashat, has been accused of corruption by other members of the Houthi-led government, and has a reputation as a zealous Al Houthi member.
Source: Gulf News