Abd Al-Malik al-Huthi, the brother of anti-government preacher Shaikh Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi, was killed by the Yemeni army during clashes on Monday evening in an assault on the northern Shaab Salman region, near the border with Saudi Arabia, military sources in the capital Sanaa said on Tuesday.
Abd Al-Malik had commanded the snipers among the fighters, according to the sources. Another brother, Abd Al-Karim al-Huthi, was arrested.
Around the same time, dozens of Yemeni army soldiers were killed in an ambush by the preacher's supporters against a brigade heading for one of the villages where the army is searching for him, an official said.
Many Yemeni troops were killed
in a rebel ambush on Monday
Yemeni government forces also found 120 bodies belonging to supporters and some relatives of Shaikh Husayn in the northern Maran mountain villages, Aljazeera's correspondent in Sanaa reported.
The bodies were found during a vast search operation in the area that started few days ago.
The Yemeni army had earlier declared it had regained control over areas where the preacher's supporters were based, and also raided his house.
Shaikh Husayn and thousands of his supporters have been holed up in the rugged mountains of Maran, in Saada province, since the revolted erupted on 18 June.
The Zaidi preacher's whereabouts are still unknown as the Yemeni army presses its military offensive that has left at least 400 people dead on both sides.
Clashes in the region continued on Tuesday between the military and Shaikh Husayn's supporters, led by Abd Allah al-Rizani, one of the preacher's key aides, witnesses said.
The army launched missile attacks on the areas of Nishur al-Shatiaiya and al-Hamazat where about 250 fighters have regrouped.
The Zaidi preacher attacked what
he called Yemen's pro-US policy
Mediation attempts, one of them led by a third brother, Yahya al-Huthi, a member of parliament, have failed to resolve the crisis or negotiate the preacher's surrender.
The authorities have offered a 10 million rial ($55,000) reward for information leading to the capture of Shaikh Husayn, whom they accuse of seeking to foment sectarian strife.
The preacher in July said the conflict was a result of his anti-US stand and accused Yemeni President Ali Abd Allah al-Salih of seeking "to please the United States at the expense of his own people".