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Yemenis protest in Houthi-held Sanaa over Soleimani killing

By AFP - Jan 06,2020 - Last updated at Jan 06,2020

Yemeni Houthi rebels take part in a demonstration in Sanaa on Monday to denounce the US killing of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis (AFP photo)

SANAA — Hundreds of Yemenis took part Monday in a protest in Sanaa called by Tehran-backed Houthi rebels to vent anger over the US assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

"We come together with free men around the world to face down the American Satan," an announcer told the crowd at the Bab Al  Yaman entrance to the capital's Old City.

The demonstrators cried "Death to America" and waved banners calling for a boycott of US and Israeli products, in images broadcast by the Houthis' Al Masirah television. 

Houthi official Dhaifallah Al Shami addressed the crowd under giant portraits of Soleimani and top Iraqi military figure Mahdi Al Muhandis, both killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last Friday. 

"The blood of the martyrs Soleimani and Muhandis is not just Iranian or Iraqi but belongs to the Muslim community and to free men around the world," he said.

The Houthis have called for swift reprisals for the killings.

A statement from Houthi authorities read out to the crowd said it was "time for the Americans and Zionists to pack their bags" and leave the region.

The rebels are locked in a five-year conflict with a Saudi-led military coalition.

It was unclear if the Houthi call for reprisals was also directed at Riyadh, which has stepped up efforts to end Yemen's conflict amid a lull in Houthi attacks on the kingdom.

Last September, the Houthis claimed responsibility for strikes against two major oil sites in eastern Saudi Arabia. Riyadh and Washington accused Iran of being behind the attacks, despite Tehran's denials. 

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