Houthi official relates leader brother actual murder, as group tries to exploit assassination

Sana'a (Debriefer)
2019-08-16 | Since 4 Year

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A senior leader in the Houthi group has detailed the actual description of how and why Ibrahim al-Houthi, the leader's brother, had been killed.

Talking with Debriefer anonymously on phone, the Houthi official denied the "incomplete accounts" alleged by Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition on the leader's brother murder, since the "real account is only fully known by very little leaders of the group.

"Both Houthis and coalition have been seeking to exploit the murder for their own respective interests. None of them has given complete, clear version of the event, after nearly two weeks, as the Houthi plot to exploit the incident still unfinished and the coalition has no clear image."

The rebel official denied that Ibrahim had been killed by 'betrayal hands of the American-Israeli aggression,' as the group claimed.

"Neither the coalition had a hand in his assassination," he added. It is true that "internal disputes were behind the killing, but not inside an apartment in Hadda quarter of Sana'a City," as the coalition spokesman said last Sunday. However, the "coalition knows nothing about such disputes."

The Houthi official criticized the coalition for deriving their information from Houthi-affiliated sources, with some suggestions added.

"Coalition's absurdity always serves the Houthis, whose interior ministry is now preparing for an account partially agrees with that of the coalition and will be publicized in the few coming days. The new version aims at justifying a campaign to arrest some people the group suspects to have links with the coalition and loyal parties.

"The coalition has not been able so far to make intelligence penetration within the Houthi top leadership," he said.


The Where and When of Ibrahim's Death

While the Houthi interior ministry's release gave no details on the assassination, Houthi media reported that Ibrahim had been killed inside a house in Hadda area, and coalition media said his convoy had been likely ambushed at the northern entrance of Sana'a.

However, the source has told Debriefer that Ibrahim was killed in Sa'ada, the main stronghold of the rebel group, following deep disputes with senior leaders, close to his brother Abdul Malik (Houthi leader), most of them are from the Yemeni northern governorate of Jawf.

"He was killed one week before the Houthi announcement of his death, as the group chose to keep silent until investigations are finished and causes are treated, and to exploit the event and create explanations to avoid any problems within its ranks that could affect battlefronts.

"The dispute between the two parties had already started in Sana'a, few months before the killing, and so deepened that death threats had been made," the source added, without naming the "other party," whom he described as "close fellows of Abdul Malik al-Houthi and still alive."

The Why and How

Senior advisors with close links to Houthi leader had tried to settle the dispute, and called the two parties to Sa'ada for this purpose, the official told Debriefer. "When they met in a valley of Sa'ada, quarrel intensified between the two parties who engaged with each other using fire guns, killing Ibrahim, seven of his bodyguards and two of the other party and injuring others."

Asked about causes behind the dispute, the source said the rebel leader's brother "was tasked by Abdul Malik to coordinate with the Houthi Political Council in tackling and solving the problems with international agencies active in Houthi-held areas.

"Ibrahim's task came after international agencies had increasingly complained against treatment by some Houthi leaders, with some of such complaints filed at Abdul Malik's office.

"Ibrahim's interference in some issues concerning those agencies irritated leaders at the group, some of whom occupying high-rank posts at national and protective security bodies. Those leader used to deal exclusively with the agencies and, resultantly, earned lavish sums.

"Having felt their gains started to decrease in favor Ibrahim, the senior leaders entered in so deep rows with al-Houthi brother that they threatened him with death.

"After the other party had complained to Abdul Malik, the Houthi leader asked senior advisors of his to help defuse disagreement causes. Based in Sa'ada, the advisors called the two parties for meeting in the northern governorate in a bid to solve the dispute.

"As they arrived at a valley located by the advisors in Sa'ada, the two parties engaged in argument that developed into quarrel followed by armed clashes, leaving Ibrahim, seven of his bodyguards and two of the other party killed."

Nevertheless, the source said, Ibrahim al-Houthi "was not that honest as claimed by Houthi-run websites. He [too] exploited the international organizations to make financial gains, although not as huge as the other party."

Yemen has been racked by a 4-year bloody conflict between the internationally-recognized Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who ousted the government in 2014.


Making Use of the Incident

On condition of anonymity, the Houthi official said some of his group's leaders seek to exploit the death of their top leader's brother in holding the coalition and its supporters responsible for the killing, and arresting and liquidating some people those leaders suspect to have links with the coalition and cause troubles for the group's leadership and intelligence bodies.

According to the source, the Houthi interior ministry has delayed the disclosure of 'betrayal hands of the American-Israeli aggression' until "finishing the fabrication of certain charges against people most of them affiliates of the General People's Congress party, particularly supporters of the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh," who was killed by Houthis in December 2017.

"The ministry's vow, that it would 'save no effort in chasing and arresting the criminal tools that committed the assassination', aims to let the door open for any operation carried out by the group against any party or person under the pretext of 'involvement in a cell responsible for the assassination of Ibrahim.'

"Houthi security authorities are expected in the next period to arrest people, supporters of Saleh in particular, over the murder of Ibrahim al-Houthi. The group's threats are intended to push unknown hostile cells to flee Houthi-held areas," the Houthi official told Debriefer.

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