By Nasser Arrabyee/24/11/2010
At least 23 tribesmen loyal to Al Houthi Shiite rebels were killed and about 30 injured when a suicide bomber, believed to be Al Qaeda member, exploded his car in a big procession of cars with hundreds of tribesmen on board in Al Metoon area eastern province of Al Jawf.
The tribesmen were in their way to celebrate the Shiite day of Al Ghadeer, in Zaher district north of the Al Jawf, close to Sa’ada.
Two local sources from Al Jawf and Mareb said Al Qaeda was likely behind the attack, Al Qaeda affiliates believe that celebration of Al Ghadeer is not Islamic. The sources said Al Qaeda repeatedly issued fatwas that Al Ghadeer is ‘Bedah’, not truly Islamic occasion to celebrate.
Al Ghadeer is a day celebrated annually by Shiite Islam to commemorate the day when the Prophet Mohammed, announced that Ali bin Abi Taleb would be his successor when he dies, as Shiite believe.
The sources said 18 bodies were identified and others are still unknown.
Two tribal leaders loyal to Al Houthi rebels were killed in the attack: Hussein Hadhban and two sons of Sheikh Abdullah Abdan.
The car bomb targeted the car of Sheikh Abdullah Abdan but he survived because he was not in the car, the sources said.
The celebration was not taken place as every one in the area was busy with the deaths and injuries.
The spokesman of Al Houthi rebels, Mohammed Abdul Salam said in press statements that 15 were killed and 30 others injured in the attack.
Earlier this year, tribesmen from Mareb province where Al Qaeda is believed to be hiding, under the leadership of the tribal leader Qasem Al Mashan announced their loyalty to the rebels leader Abdul Malik Al Houthi.
Before the attack, the spokesman of Al Houthi rebels Mohammed Abdul Salam, said that security forces were quiet and helpful with them while they were celebrating the eve of Al Ghadeer day.
Al Houthi Shiite rebels celebrated the eve of Tuesday by setting fires to tyres and fire to air almost all night. In a statement issued by their leader, the rebels were told to save their bullets for hard times and not waste them by firing to air.