The spiritual leader of the Iranian backed Houthi rebels Sheikh Abdel-Malek Al-Shami who died of injuries in Yemen was buried in Southern Beirut suburb next to Imad Mughniyah the former military leader of Hezbollah who was killed in 2008 and who was very close to him, according to Lebanese media reports
Al-Shami was wounded in the Islamic State (ISIS) bombing of Al-Hashoosh mosque in Sanaa. A number of worshippers were killed in the bombing which took place last March 20.
The Houthi leader was reportedly wounded in Yemen, was transferred from Yemen to a hospital in Tehran to be treated for the injuries he sustained in the bomb blast but died later in Tehran and was transferred to Lebanon to be buried in Beirut.
According to the media reports Al-Shami was considered to be the liaison officer between the Houthis and the Iranians. He was the special envoy of Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi to Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
Al-Shami reportedly emigrated to Syrian 17 years ago to study at the Khomeini Hawza (a Shiite institute) in Damascus upon recommendation from the founder of the Houthi movement Hussein Al-Houthi.
According to media reports , the Iranians depended on Al-Shami to spread Shiite teachings amongst the Houthis in Yemen.
The reports point to the close association that existed between Mughniyah and Al-Shami. Mughniyah was directly supervising the activities of the Houthis who, according to these sources, were dealt a moral blow by the assassination of Mughniyah.
The reports added: “Following Mughniyah’s assassination, Al-Shami assumed the task of coordinating with Hezbollah in Lebanon and with the Iranians who handed over to him the Yemeni file.
Hezbollah denied on Saturday media reports that any of its members had been killed in Yemen.
A months-long rebellion by the Houthi fighters in Yemen escalated into a regional conflict last month, when the coalition led by Saudi Arabia began conducting air strikes on rebel-held territory.
Last month, a Gulf diplomatic official said that according to estimates, there are 5,000 Iranians, Hezbollah and Iraqi militia on the ground in Yemen.
The Hezbollah Shiite militant group’s deputy chief, Sheikh Naim Kassem ( usually referred to as No. 2 in Lebanon ) directed a barrage of criticism at Saudi Arabia on Monday, accusing the kingdom of committing genocide with its airstrike campaign targeting Yemen’s Shiite rebels and warning it will “pay a heavy price” for its involvement.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Kassem said Saudi Arabia made a “strategic mistake” by interfering in Yemen’s internal affairs.