Yemen: State funeral for Saudi ‘martyr’ who fought alongside Houthis

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A former Saudi Arabian soldier was given a state funeral in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Saturday after being “martyred” fighting alongside the pro-Houthi armed forces in the province of Marib. Abdulaziz Yousef Saed Mohamed Omar, also known as Abu Al-Ezz, was a Saudi citizen hailing from Makkah. He is believed to be the first such Saudi defector without Yemeni roots.

According to the Yemen Press Agency, Omar was a former prisoner of war who was captured on the battlefield. After his release, he decided to settle in Yemen and fight with the Houthi-aligned Yemeni army against the Saudi-led coalition forces.

Omar was given a state funeral in the presence of senior Houthi officials. He is buried in the vicinity of Al-Shaab Mosque, formerly Al-Saleh Mosque, named after late President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

READ: Top army commander killed in Yemen clashes

A senior member of the Sanaa-based Supreme Political Council, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, praised the Saudi national on Twitter and thanked everyone for attending his funeral. Al-Houthi also shared an obituary the day before, describing Omar as “The Martyr from Makkah”.

Sanaa and Yemen’s other most populous regions are under the administration of the de-facto Houthi-led government formed two years after the Houthi and allied armed forces seized the capital in 2014. Marib city is the last remaining pro-coalition stronghold in the north, where Saudi-backed forces are fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government-in-exile based in Riyadh.

READ: Saudi reconciliation could see Turkey on the wrong side of history in Yemen

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