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Three Houthis killed on the way to celebrate Ghadir Day.

SANA'A, Oct. 23--Three Houthi affiliates were killed on Wednesday and three others injured in an ambush by unknown gunmen while they were heading to Ibb governorate to take part in Ghadir Day festival, an official said.

According to Ali Al-Zalm, the deputy governor of Ibb, the festival was organized by Houthi supporters in the Al-Aras village of Yareem district.

The Houthis celebrated Ghadir Day on Wednesday across the country, including in areas that the celebration of this Shia festival were banned during the reign of former President Ali Abdulla Saleh.

Ali Al-Bukhaiti, the spokesman for the Houthis at the National Dialogue Conference, said ceremonies began Tuesday evening with jubilant crowds in Sa'ada governorate, the epicenter of the Houthis, as fireworks were set off.

Houthi affiliates in other cities reportedly celebrated this occasion indoors. Last year for the first time, Houthis celebrated Ghadir Day in the capital city in a heavily fortified hall.

Each year on the 18th of the Dhu al-Hijja on the Islamic calendar, Shia Muslims including the Houthis celebrate Eid Al-Ghadir when they commemorate the appointment of Imam Ali by Prophet Mohammed around 14 centuries ago.

"Celebration of this year's Eid is not as strong as the last one due to the deteriorated security environment nationwide," said Al-Bukhaiti.

While the Shia Houthis say the Ghadir festival is a day to promote the aspiration of freedom seekers and emancipation from slavery, some Sunni Muslims reject the historical credibility of this occasion.

Sheikh Abdulwahab Al-Humaikian, the head of Al-Rashad Salafi Union Party, a group known to oppose Houthi ideology, said, "Celebrating Ghadir Day is politically motivated because Houthis are trying to consolidate power." Al-Humaikian calls the holiday controversial.

Last year, the Houthis celebrated Ghadir Day by shooting gunfire in the air which resulted in several reported injuries.

Brigadier Mohammed Al-Qaedi, the public relations manager at the Interior Ministry, warned against shooting in the air to express joy, saying this is a punishable act and perpetrators will be held accountable.

"Anyone who wants to celebrate is fine. But they should not hurt others," said Al-Qaedi.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Oct 24, 2013
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