Yemen Gunmen Kill 3 in Attack on Shiite Assembly

W460

Unknown gunmen shot dead on Saturday three Huthi Shiites and wounded 10 others in an attack on a gathering staged to commemorate the Ashura mourning period, a security official and witnesses said.

Thousands loyal to the Huthi group that battled the regime of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh for years in the north gathered for the first time in Sanaa in an open rally to mourn Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Husain.

"Three were killed" in the shooting, the official told Agence France Presse, adding that 10 others were wounded and taken to hospital.

Witnesses who were at the gathering said they heard an explosion near the entrance to the Zahrat al-Madaen hall, north of Sanaa, followed by heavy gunfire at around 6:30 pm (15:30 GMT).

This is the first 10-day Ashura commemoration since the ouster of Saleh, who stepped down in February following a year of deadly protests in which Huthis participated.

Huthi fighters have repeatedly clashed with radical Sunni Salafists in the north where dozens of people have been killed in clashes since last year.

Yemen's mountainous north is a stronghold of the Huthis, who from 2004 fought six wars against central government forces before signing a February 2010 truce. The revolt claimed thousands of lives.

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