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Al-Sistani Spokesmen Denies Yemen’s Huthists Have Offices in Al-Najaf | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al-Najaf, Asharq Al-Awsat- Yemeni authorities said yesterday that they killed and captured a number of Huthists at several battlefronts in Sadah Governorate north of Yemen while Abdul-Malik al-Huthi called on his supporters to wage a long-term war against the government forces. The latter and the Huthists exchanged statements of making progress in the fighting and achieving their military objectives.

Elsewhere, the Shiite religious authority in Al-Najaf denied knowledge that the Huthists have an office in the city, downplayed the importance of the presence of such an office, and considered it unnecessary and inappropriate.

Hamid Al-Khaffaf, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s official spokesman said “his eminence has not expressed an opinion and has not made any comment on the events in Yemen.” He added in a telephone contact with Asharq Al-Awsat from Beirut that the “higher religious authority has no knowledge of the presence of an office for the Huthists in Al-Najaf. The authority believes its presence is inappropriate and it is not right to involve the higher authority in this matter.”

One of the Yemeni clerics living in Al-Najaf confirmed this denial. Sheikh Ali Muhammad al-Yamani, director of “Al-Thiqlayn” Center in Sanaa, told Asharq al-Awsat” in Al-Najaf where he has been studying at the religious hawzah for more than nine years that the Sadah crisis started in 2004 and accused the authorities of discriminating against the thoughts of the 12 imams and the Shiite ideology in general. On the Baathists’ presence in Yemen and the extent of their influence on the Yemeni Government, he said: “There are many Iraqi pilots who fled to Yemen after the fall of former Iraqi regime. They attacked the Sadah Governorate and specifically the markets and civilians and their bloody attacks caused much damage and mass killings in Sadah.”

As to the Yemeni Government’s accusations that the Huthists have connections with Iran and the latter is providing them with weapons and finance, Al-Yamani said: “We deny categorically any connections with Iran. We consider it an Islamic country just like other countries and any rapprochement with it does not exceed the common doctrinal beliefs.”