The family of a prominent Yemeni politician and supporter of the country's Shiite rebels says he was assassinated by gunmen in front of the family's home in the capital, Sanaa.

The son of Abdel-Karim al-Khewani, who was also a respected writer, says a pair of armed men riding on a motorbike opened fire and gunned down his father as he came out of the house on Wednesday morning.

Mohammed al-Khewani says the attackers left his father in a pool of blood and sped away. The elder al-Khewani was transferred to hospital but died of his wounds there.

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest nation, is deeply polarized and engulfed in turmoil amid a power grab by the rebels known as the Houthis who last year seized Sanaa and several northern provinces.