Presstv/ Yemeni political party leader shot dead in capital

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – The head of a Yemeni political party has been shot dead by unknown gunmen a day after political factions signed a deal to form a new government in the impoverished country, local media say.

Mohammed Abdulmalik al-Mutawakkil, the secretary general of the Union of Popular Forces party, was killed by the gunmen on a motorbike in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on Sunday, state news agency Saba reported.

Medical sources said Mutawakkil succumbed to injuries at a hospital following the assault.

The assassination came a day after 13 Yemeni political factions, including the Shia movement of Ansarullah, inked a deal, calling on the president and prime minister to form a new government in a bid to resolve the country’s crippling crisis.

Also on Saturday, suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 18 Yemeni soldiers and took 15 others hostage in the Red Sea port city of al-Hudaydah.

An unnamed tribal source said negotiations had been launched with the militants to win the hostages’ release.

“Tribal mediation is underway to secure the withdrawal of al-Qaeda militants and the release of the captured soldiers,” the source said.

Al-Qaeda militants frequently carry out attacks on Yemen’s security forces and have been locked in deadly battles with Shia Ansarullah fighters.

Al-Qaeda-linked violence against Yemeni security forces has grown since February 2012, when President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi came to power in a one-man election backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Hadi replaced long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted following a year of mass protests across the country.

In recent months, Yemen has been grappling with a severe political crisis between the central government and Ansarullah revolutionaries, also known as Houthis.

The Ansarullah activists, who played a major role in the ouster of Saleh have been staging demonstrations in Sana’a for nearly two months, demanding the government’s ouster over corruption and marginalization of the country’s Shia community.

www.shafaqna.com/English

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