Yemen insists Shiite leader seriously wounded

Published January 19th, 2010 - 01:59 GMT

The leader of Yemeni Shi'ite rebels, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, is alive but seriously injured, a Yemeni official said on Tuesday. According to him, he has entrusted a relative with leading the northern rebellion in his stead.

 

"According to the information available to us, Houthi sustained injuries to his leg and hand, and his leg was amputated after that," a local government official was quoted as saying by Reuters. The official said Houthi was wounded about a month ago. "He has been unable to appear again after this and has handed the leadership of the rebellion to his brother-in-law, Youssef al-Madani," the official said, adding that Houthi had returned to his home village for treatment.

 

Meanwhile, on their website, the Shiite rebels said air strikes by Saudi forces and ground battles were still in progress on Tuesday.

The government source in Saada did not say when Houthi had entrusted the rebellion to his relative.

The rebels said government troops had begun advancing on the strategic Jabal Dukhan area which straddles the Saudi border, and added that dozens had been killed in fighting there in the last few days.

State media also reported that Yemen had sentenced an army officer to 10 years in jail for providing the Houthis with weapons intelligence, including information on "radioactive elements".

Officer Muhammad Abdullah al-Bahri, a 35-year-old chemistry and physics teacher, confessed to taking orders directly from the rebels, according to state news agency Saba.

He was convicted of taking photographs to identify positions from where insurgents could fight government troops, and designing rebel websites.

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