Houthi official Zakaria al-Shami dies in Sanaa, conflicting reports of cause of death

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The transportation minister of the Houthi-controlled coup administration in Yemen, Zakaria al-Shami, died on Sunday amid conflicting reports of the cause of death.

Houthi officials said al-Shami said he had died of complications from contracting COVID-19 and that he had been treated in hospital in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, along with Houthi Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtour and other Houthi officials who have also been infected.

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Houthi officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Abdulaziz Alkumaim, the Houthi Planning Minister, said in social media posts Shami had died, but did not provide further details.

Al Arabiya received two various accounts about the killing of al-Shami. According to sources, he had killed along with other Houthi leaders in a raid by an Arab Coalition aircraft targeting a meeting of Houthis in Sanaa. Other sources said he might have been killed in an assassination by other Houthi figures among the Iran-backed militia group.

Yemen is divided between a Sanaa-based administration controlled by the Houthis, who are aligned with Iran, and the Aden-based internationally recognized government.

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(With inputs from Reuters)

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