July 10, 2017 / 10:57 AM / 2 months ago

Four Saudis sentenced to death in Yemen for 2014 beheadings

DUBAI (Reuters) - A court in Sanaa has sentenced to death four Saudis convicted of belonging to al Qaeda and beheading 14 Yemeni soldiers in a 2014 attack, according to media run by the Houthis, the northern rebel group in control of Yemen’s capital.

The 2014 attack was one of many carried out by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on state security targets in the period preceding Yemen’s descent into full blown war involving Saudi Arabia. The conflict has killed around 10,000 people and displaced another 3 million.

“The criminal court in charge of terrorism cases in Sanaa on Sunday sentenced four Saudi nationals to death for belonging to al Qaeda and killing and beheading 14 soldiers of the 135th Brigade,” al-Masirah television reported.

The Houthis seized control of Sanaa in September 2014, forcing the then government into exile. In March the following year, a Saudi-led coalition launched a campaign to try to restore the ousted government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, carrying out thousands of air raids.

But despite more than two years of heavy fighting, the Houthis, close to Saudi Arabia’s arch-enemy Iran, have maintained control over the most populated provinces including the capital Sanaa.

The court ordered for the men to be executed in public and in the presence of the families of those killed, the channel reported.

AQAP was formed by the merger of the Saudi and Yemeni wings of Al Qaeda in 2009.

Reporting By Yemen staff, writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by Sami Aboudi and Raissa Kasolowsky

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