SANAA – Yemen’s Shiite Huthi rebels have killed the capital’s governor in clashes that erupted during an attempt to detain him, his relatives said Friday.
Abdulghani Jamil and his nephew Nasr Jamil “died of wounds sustained during late Thursday clashes between the governor’s aides and Huthi militiamen”, the sources said. Jamil was appointed by fugitive President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia after the rebels seized power in Sanaa and later advanced on his last refuge in the south, the port city of Aden. The Huthis “demanded Jamil hand himself over” to them.
His refusal prompted a firefight in which both he and his nephew were wounded, the relatives said. The Huthis, allied with renegade troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been in control of Sanaa since last September despite more than two months of Saudi-led coalition air strikes against their positions across the country.
Heavy fighting erupted in southern Yemen near Aden airport on Friday when a Muslim militia attacked Houthi rebels in a push to drive Houthis from the district, residents and fighters said.
Saudi-led forces also made four air strikes on a military base near the airport, a source in the southern militia told Reuters.
A Saudi-led coalition began air strikes in Yemen on March 26 in a campaign to restore Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. He fled in March, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September and then thrust into central and south Yemen.
Aden is Yemen’s commercial hub. Its airport has been closed since fighting began but its port provides sporadic access for desperately needed humanitarian aid to enter the country. Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are concentrated around Aden’s districts of Khor Maksar, Crater and Moalla.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of arming the Houthis. Iran denies this and has repeatedly called for a political solution to restore peace in Yemen.