File photo taken on January 31, 2017 shows the leader of the Houthi militia Saleh Al Samad. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militia said on Saturday it had executed nine men who were ‘convicted of involvement’ in the 2018 killing of Saleh Al Samad, then the militia’s top civilian leader.

Samad, who held the post of ‘president’ in the Houthi-controlled administration was killed in April 2018 by a Saudi-led coalition air strike in the port city of Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast.

He was the most senior official to be killed by the coalition in the years-long war in which the Houthis are fighting forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government based in the southern port city of Aden.

The government is backed by a Saudi-led coalition. Saudi Arabia and its mostly Gulf Arab allies allege the Houthis are proxies for their arch-rival Iran.

Houthi authorities said the nine men were charged and convicted for their involvement in the killing of Samad, including spying and sharing sensitive information with the Saudi-led coalition.

The Houthis said the execution by firing squad was witnessed by “masses”, including blood relatives and Houthi leaders in the capital Sanaa, which they control.