Iraqi mobilization mourns Yemen’s senior Houthi leader

Deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Baghdad ( Iraq’s Shia-dominated Popular Mobilization Forces mourned on Wednesday the death of a senior leader of the Yemeni Ansarullah (Houthi) movement.

In a statement by the PMF’s media, deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes mourned the death of Saleh al-Sammad, chairman of the Supreme Political Council, a body governing Houthi-held areas of Yemen that also comprises members from the General People’s Congress, the formerly ruling party.

Sammad was killed along with six other companions in Hudaida province in an air raid by the Saudi-led Arab alliance fighting Houthis last Thursday. His death was officially declared on Monday.

In the statement, Mohandes counted Sammad’s death as a loss “ for the whole nation in the face of the arrogance and plots by Saudis and their allies and in face of Wahhabism and terrorism,” a reference to the mainstream Islamic discipline in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.

Mohandes said Sammad’s assassination “will not weaken the will of the Yemeni people” in face of what he labelled as “the Saudi aggression”.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been leading an Arab military alliance against Houthis since 2015, backing Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s quest to retake areas occupied by Houthis since then. Alliance members have accused Iran of arming Houthis with ballistic missiles, some of which have been regularly intercepted above Saudi Arabian regions.

Saudis have expressed unease towards the involvement of Iraqi mobilization forces in the fight against Islamic State militants since 2014. PMFs are widely believed to have received generous training and financing from Iran. They were formed by a decree from Iraq’s top Shia clergymen in 2014 to counter IS.

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