Top Yemeni Salafi cleric killed hours after preaching against ISIL, Al Qaida

Special to WorldTribune.com

Yemen’s top Salafi cleric was kidnapped and killed hours after delivering a sermon railing against Al Qaida and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

The body of Samahan Abdel-Aziz, also known as Sheikh Rawi, was found on Jan. 31 in the southern port city of Aden. The body showed signs of torture, security officials told The Associated Press.

Map of YemenAbdel-Aziz was kidnapped by gunmen outside his mosque late on Jan. 30 in the pro-government neighborhood of Bureiqa, the officials said.

The Saudi-led coalition and local militiamen drove Iran-backed Houthi rebels from Aden in July 2015, but have been unable to fully restore order, leaving a vacuum that has allowed affiliates of ISIL and Al Qaida to control various parts of the city for months.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense said in a statement on Jan. 31 that a rocket fired from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia’s southern border region of Najran landed on a Saudi home, killing an 11-year-old child and wounding nine others in the family.

Also on Jan. 31, Human Rights Watch said the Houthis have for months restricted food and medical supplies to Yemen’s third-largest city, Taiz, in what the rights group said was a “serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

“The Houthis are denying necessities to residents of Taiz because they happen to be living in areas that opposition forces control,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Seizing property from civilians is already unlawful, but taking their food and medical supplies is simply cruel.”

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