Journalist killed in bomb blast in northern Yemen; father: Houthis planted bombs

SANAA, Yemen — A pregnant journalist was killed in a bomb blast in northern Yemen on Thursday, officials said, the latest attack on the country’s media. Ahmed al-Okami, an editor with the Al-Maksoun television…

Journalist killed in bomb blast in northern Yemen; father: Houthis planted bombs

SANAA, Yemen — A pregnant journalist was killed in a bomb blast in northern Yemen on Thursday, officials said, the latest attack on the country’s media.

Ahmed al-Okami, an editor with the Al-Maksoun television channel, and two cameramen were on their way to the southern city of Aden to film and broadcast a live program, according to a CNN producer.

The car blew up as they were heading to the newsroom in al-Dhalea province, a stronghold of the powerful Houthi rebels, the official said. Three other journalists, one with Al-Maksoun and two with a different channel, were also killed.

CNN producer Perry Bacon Jr. said al-Okami and two others were wearing body armor and were about to switch vehicles before the blast.

In a statement, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. called al-Okami “a passionate and courageous journalist,” saying he had “advocated for peace and justice in Yemen for years.”

Al-Okami’s father, Ghazi al-Okami, said that the family had buried the bodies Wednesday night.

“Everything about the way he was killed is suspicious,” he said. “We are still working out what happened. The Houthis planted bombs.”

His son had also been shot at by the Houthis in 2014, when Houthi fighters took over the capital, Sanaa, and gave themselves the title of the “legitimate” government of Yemen.

The country is embroiled in a three-year civil war pitting the Houthis, Shiite rebels backed by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, against forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a U.S.-backed Sunni Muslim general.

At least 6,100 people have been killed since war broke out in the country in 2014, according to United Nations officials.

Saleh, who was ousted from power after 2011 Arab Spring protests, has remained in Yemen since the Houthis rose up against his government in late 2014.

News of al-Okami’s death comes on the heels of the killing of Maj. Gen. Rashad Al Hudaybi, who headed the Houthi militia’s internal security service.

The Houthis called him “a martyr fighting U.S. aggression.”

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