The Houthis yesterday announced the killing of Ibrahim Al-Houthi, the brother of the group's leader Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi in Yemen.
The Interior Ministry of the Houthi government said that Ibrahim Badreddin Al-Houthi "was assassinated by the hands of treachery and treason belonging to the US-Israeli aggression and its organs," in reference to the Saudi-led coalition which has been operating in Yemen since 2015.
The statement said that the Interior Ministry "will work hard on pursuing and arresting the members of the criminal aggression that carried out the assassination of the martyr Ibrahim Al-Houthi, and bringing them to justice so that they receive their deterrent penalty".
The statement did not give further details about the assassination, its timing or location, nor about the position held by Ibrahim Al-Houthi.
However, Anadolu Agency quoted a Yemeni source it described as "well-informed" as saying that Ibrahim Al-Houthi was assassinated inside his house in the area of Haddah, south of Yemeni capital Sanaa.
Ibrahim was a close aide to his brother Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, who used to rely on him in many military operations in the field, especially those around Saada near the Saudi border.
Ibrahim was one of the most prominent leaders in the operation to capture Sanaa in September 2014. He also actively participated in storming the presidential palace and besieging President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi at his house. Ibrahim Al-Houthi also led battles on the Yemeni-Saudi border.
In a related context, pro-Houthi TV channel Al Masirah quoted a military spokesperson as saying on Thursday that the Houthis carried out two drone operations on Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport, in the south of the Kingdom.
The Saudi-led coalition said later that its forces intercepted and shot down a drone fired by the Houthis toward Abha.
Al Masirah's Twitter account quoted military spokesperson Yahya Seria as claiming that the attacks on Abha Airport targeted the control tower and other sensitive areas and caused disruption to air navigation.
The Houthis – who control Sanaa – have in recent months stepped up their attacks on targets within Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition has in turn countered this by targeting Houthi military sites, especially around the Yemeni capital.
The escalation in violence threatens a UN-brokered ceasefire that includes withdrawing troops from Al-Hudaydah, a crucial port town west of the capital. The city became the centre of battles last year when the coalition tried to take control of the port, which is considered the lifeline for millions of Yemenis.