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Houthi ‘consultant’ dies from coronavirus after saying ‘better to die on battlefield’

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A Houthi political consultant has reportedly died from the coronavirus months after exploiting COVID-19 fears to recruit people to join and fight for the Iran-backed militia in the ongoing war in Yemen, according to local media reports.

Shafi’i Nasher, described as an activist who worked as an adviser to the Houthis’ foreign ministry, died from coronavirus while at his home in Sanaa.

His death comes months after a controversial television appearance in which he urged Yemenis to take up arms with the Houthi militia and die on the battlefield even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Instead of dying like a donkey, under the mercy of corona[virus]. In the end you suffocate and die. Isn’t it better to die on the battlefield?” Nasher said in his appearance broadcast on a channel run by the Houthis several months ago.

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“We will make you a martyr, or do you want to die like a sheep in your home? We’re making things easier for you. Without any illness, and with God, a martyr with my God,” he added.

Yemen has so far confirmed it has detected 222 cases of coronavirus infections and 42 deaths as a result of the pandemic, according to an AFP tally as of Tuesday.

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