AL-MUKALLA: A Yemeni politician was shot dead in the Houthi-held city of Sanaa on Thursday shortly after an armed group executed a senior magistrate, sparking speculation of Houthi infighting .
Sanaa residents said unidentified men shot Brig. General Abdullah Mohammed Al-Kibsi, a former MP and supporter of the Iran-backed Houthis, terrorists, outside his house in Al-Hasaba neighborhood, the latest in a series of drive-by killings targeting senior military and policies allied with the Houthis.
Yemeni journalist Sam Al-Ghobari has described the little-known politician as a supporter of the Houthis’ military offensive against the central city of Marib, which began early last year.
The Houthis’ social media accounts have blamed the killing on a family dispute, saying their security services are searching for the killer.
Similarly, an armed group on Thursday morning executed Mohammed Hamran, a Supreme Court judge, two days after abducting him from a street in Sanaa.
Citing previous incidents, Yemeni government officials and activists accused the Houthis of kidnapping and executing the judge after he refused militia pressure to legalize their plunder of public land and property, as well as the confiscation of the houses of opponents.
Moammer Al-Eryani, the internationally recognized government’s information minister, said the judge was assassinated because Houthi-supporting journalists aggressively incited terrorists to attack him. He accused the Houthis of trying to purge judges who challenge their orders.
He said on Twitter that this heinous act is part of a series of systematic crimes against the judiciary and its staff, which refuse to respond to instructions from the Houthis.
He added that the killing is part of the terror group’s plans to strengthen its control over the justice system and use it to cover up its crimes and legitimize the looting of land and property. The Iran-backed group also wants to use the judicial system to settle its political scores, Al-Eryani added.
The Houthis claimed to have apprehended the men who murdered the judge.
On social media, friends of the judge expressed their 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 courageous judge” he had ever met.
Several politicians, academics, activists, and security and military figures loyal to the Houthis have been assassinated in Yemeni provinces under Houthi control.
The killings confirmed reports of bloody fighting between various groups within the movement.
Hans Grundberg, the UN envoy to Yemen, on Wednesday strongly condemned the deadly Houthi attacks on the densely populated city of Taiz and called on militias and other parties in Yemen to honor their truce commitments negotiated by the UN.
“I condemn the attack that was launched from areas controlled by Ansar Allah (an official term for the Houthis) on Sunday evening in the Dabab area of Taiz which left a number of soldiers killed or injured and threatens to aggravate seriously the humanitarian situation of civilians,” the envoy said in a statement.
The Houthis on Sunday attacked Yemeni government troops at the western gate of the besieged city of Taiz, killing at least 10 people and injuring many more.
The Houthis launched new attacks on government forces on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing more casualties among soldiers and civilians, residents and officials said.