Yemeni police announce they have arrested 2 suspects in the killing of a senior World Food Program official

CAIRO (AP) — Yemeni police on Saturday arrested two suspects in the murder of a senior World Food Program official the previous day, authorities said.

Ten other people have also been arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of Moayad Hameidi, who recently arrived in the country to serve as head of the World Food Program in southwestern Taiz province.

Taiz police did not provide further details.

On Friday, two gunmen on motorbikes shot Hameidi in the town of Turbah. He died shortly after reaching a hospital. The attackers fled.

Hameidi, a Jordanian, is the latest aid worker to be killed in Yemen, which has been plagued by civil war since 2014. He had just arrived in Taiz a few days ago to take up his post as head of the WFP office in the province.

“The loss of our colleague is a profound tragedy for our organization and the humanitarian community,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Country Director in Yemen. “Any loss of life in humanitarian service is an unacceptable tragedy.”

Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels swept through much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognized government into exile.

A Saudi-led coalition went to war the following year on the side of the government, and over the years the conflict escalated into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Houthis’ main foreign backer.

The conflict in Yemen has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and more than 150,000 people, including combatants and civilians, have been killed.

Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city and provincial capital, has been besieged by the Houthis since 2016, as part of the country’s brutal conflict. The blockade has severely restricted freedom of movement and hampered the flow of essential goods, medicine and humanitarian aid to residents of the city.

In May 2021, an aid worker from the charity Oxfam died and another injured when they were caught in the crossfire in the south of the country.

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