A father said he watched the execution by machine gun of the man who raped and murdered his three year daughter with ‘relief and satisfaction’.

Yahya Almatari stood at the front of crowd of thousands as his close neighbour Muhammad al Maghrabi was shot at point blank range with an AK-47.

The 41-year-old had been convicted by a Sharia court in Yemen of raping and strangling toddler Rana Almatari having snatched her off the street.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline after witnessing the brutal execution the toddler’s father said: ‘I feel as if I have been reborn. This is the first day of my life. I am relieved now.’

Other family members had gathered with a crowd of thousands screaming ‘long live justice’ as al Maghrabi was dragged from the back of a police van.

The child killer was forced to lie on his front on a rug with his hands tied behind his back while a police officer stood over him with an AK-47 machine gun.

As the baying crowd in the Yemeni capital Sana’a cheered he was shot five times in the back killing him instantly.

Mr al Almatari said justice had been served by the summary execution in accordance with the law of the land. He told MailOnline: ‘Justice and the ruling of God and Sharia law have prevailed.

‘I watched my daughter Rana’s killer being executed in Tahrir Square in Sana’a then I went with the men of my family and neighbours and some of the people in the crowd to the hospital where Rana was in the morgue.

‘We took her small body and buried her in the nearby cemetery. My wife Jamileh and I are grateful to God. Justice and the ruling of Allah have been done.’

There had been fears that when the killer arrived in the city’s main square he would be grabbed by the crowd and lynched such was the hatred towards him.

Al Maghrabi had snatched Rana as she played outside her home in the Yemeni capital Sana’a during the festival of Eid.

He took her back to his father’s home where he raped and then strangled the toddler with his bare hands.

The loner raped her lifeless body before dumping it near a mosque in the neighbourhood of Beit Miyad where she lived with her father Yaha and mother Jamileh.

The death of the three year old had shocked the country that is in the grip of a civil war.

The execution had been ordered by a court run by the Shi’ite Houthi rebels who control Sana’a.

After al Maghrabi’s arrest he was initially sentenced to 100 lashes having confessed to rape and murder. But such was the outrage across the nation the judge decided the punishment was not enough and imposed a death sentence.

Al Maghrabi, a Moroccan national, was arrested two days after Rana went missing on June 25th.

He was known to the victim’s family and when police raided the basement where he lived with his parents they found pills and lubricants leading investigators to believe he had planned the crime.

Mr Almatari described his daughter’s killer as a monster. He said: ‘What could be his motive, even an animal could have treated Rana mercifully. We have no enemies. ‘Rana’s body when it was found carried wounds so horrible only Rana knows about.’

Describing the day his daughter went missing, Mr Almatari said she had gone outside to play with friends. ‘Rana disappeared on the afternoon of the Eid. We told the police and the press and the national TV stations issued an appeal and neighbours helped searching for her,’ he said.

He showed MailOnline one of the missing posters that were plastered around his neighbourhood as the family frantically searched for her.

The photo shows a smiling Rana with purple sunglasses perched on the top of her head. It is believed the killer’s family, who lived two doors away from the Almatari family, tipped off police about their son’s involvement.

The dead girl’s mother Jamileh fainted when she was told her body had been found in an empty shop and was rushed to hospital where she was treated for shock.

She told MailOnline she had looked in vain for her daughter when she realised she was missing.

Jamileh said: ‘Rana walked out of the house to play with other children. After 10 or 15 minutes, I went out to find her. We looked everywhere, there was no sign of her, we sent friends, relatives and neighbours in cars to look for her.

‘There was no signs of her. It was bizarre how Rana had disappeared, as if the ground had opened and swallowed her.’

Jamileh also witnessed her daughter’s killer being executed by a policeman wielding the AK-47.

‘We demanded the immediate ruling and punishment of the criminal and now Justice had prevailed.’ said Rana’s father after al Maghrabi’s body had been taken away. Following the killer’s arrest last month a large crowd had gathered outside the police station where he was being held with the mob demanding justice.

A Ministry of Justice office read a statement to the crowd in an attempt to calm them down.

Al Maghrabi is not thought to have shown any remorse while he was held in jail. Five police vans shadowed the prison van taking him to Tahir Square for the execution as a crowd of up to 10,000 gathered to witness his death.

Before being shot a policeman read out the order from the judge for his execution. al Maghrabi turned his head to briefly look at his executioner before his life was ended.

The execution was filmed and shown on national TV while many in the crowd used smart phones to capture his death. Sharia law is the source of all legislation in Yemen, according to a US State Department report.

Under the law murder is punishable by the death sentence, though the family of the victim do have the power to lessen the punishment.

While beheading is common, Sharia does not specify how the death sentence should be carried out. Rana’s uncle Fouad Almatari said the family had decided only to bury her once her killer was dead.

He said: ‘Hell is written all over the killer’s face. We demanded from our government and the justice department a quick ruling on this crime and according to the sharia law and as soon as possible so that we could rest and so that Rana’s soul could rest in peace. Justice has now been done.’