Cara Waters, CNN • Updated 7th November 2018
( CNN ) — An outspoken Yemeni journalist working as a government press officer was killed in a car bomb attack in the capital Sanaa on Monday, residents and relatives told CNN.
Aidda Amr al-Shabwa was shot in the back seat of his car, before his car exploded in his own capital, Sanaa, according to residents and a relative.
News of the attack comes just days after a ceasefire between the Yemeni Government and the Iran-backed Huthi rebels took effect.
“Daesh fighters wanted to attack the motorcade of Saleh bin Ali and kill my brother Aidda al-Shabwa, but they had reason to attack him because he is a journalist and he acts against Daesh and his Palestinian cousin … and people who support Daesh,” one of Amr al-Shabwa’s relatives told CNN, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The journalist has worked for Al-Shabwa television since 2004, after working for al-Jazeera, according to his Facebook page.
Al-Shabwa’s brother, Abdulaziz, described the gruesome scene after the explosion.
“When I reached the scene, I saw that his car was destroyed, all his belongings were destroyed and he was killed,” he told CNN by phone from Amman, Jordan.
“Daesh said that they wanted to target the motorcade of President Saleh bin Ali and assassinate him. But they wouldn’t target him because they know that the Yemeni people stand behind him and they will shoot him dead, not because he is a journalist.”
Ahmed Chebi, another of Amr al-Shabwa’s relatives, told CNN that he had called his brother at 7 a.m. Monday morning and spoke with him for less than a minute before his call dropped.
“He answered me and then the last words of my voice was ‘Good morning,’ which he replied to me and then the call dropped,” Chebi said.
Shortly afterwards, his brother received a phone call telling him that he had been killed. Chebi said his brother’s body is being transported to al-Amal hospital in Sanaa for funeral.
Yemen, a country on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, has been facing a major humanitarian crisis since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition has been providing military support to the Yemeni Government in its efforts to combat the Huthi rebels in support of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Huthis, in turn, have been seeking to oust the Hadi government, an effort that has set the two sides against each other.
In September 2018, the last remnants of the Huthi militia — estimated at 5,000 — withdrew from all strongholds they previously held in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.