Top Yemeni Salafi cleric killed in Aden
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The lifeless body of Yemen’s top Salafi cleric in the southern port city of Aden was found disfigured on Sunday hours after he was abducted following an anti-extremism sermon, security officials told The Associated Press.
Government forces repelled Shiite rebels from Aden last July, but have been unable to restore order there ever since. With government forces now pushing north toward the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, the vacuum in Aden has given rise to affiliates of extremist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, who have grabbed lands and exercised control in various parts of the city for months.
The influential cleric, Samahan Abdel-Aziz, also known as Sheikh Rawi, had delivered a fiery sermon against the al-Qaida and IS branches on Friday, the officials said. His body was found bloodied and bearing signs of torture in Sheikh Othman, an area largely controlled by extremists, they added.
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Abdel-Aziz was kidnapped by gunmen outside his mosque late Saturday in the pro-government neighborhood of Bureiqa, they said.