Ex-Yemen President Saleh killed in Houthi attack

The Houthi alliance appears weakened
Credit
REUTERS  Khaled Abdullah

Two days later he was dead, with rebel sources saying Houthi fighters had stopped Saleh's armoured vehicle with an RPG rocket outside Sanaa before shooting him.

The Houthi claim come as tensions soar between the insurgents and the Saudi-led coalition, which imposed a crippling blockade on Yemen in response to a Houthi missile that was intercepted near Riyadh airport on 4 November. The Associated Press also reported the death.

Without mentioning Saleh by name, he said that he knew about the ex-President's communication with the Saudis and his efforts to turn against the Houthis.

Since the bombing campaign against Yemen began in 2015, the United Kingdom has licensed roughly US$4.2 billion dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to PressTV.

However, in a speech late on Sunday, the day before his assasination, Saleh formally annulled his alliance with the Houthis and pledged to step up his fight.

Saleh's rule over Yemen extended for more than three decades.

A Houthi media official said Houthi fighters killed Mr Saleh as he tried to flee to Saudi Arabia through the province of Marib, to the east of the capital.

After he was forced from power in 2011, Saleh reemerged several years later as a militia leader, allying himself with the Iranian-allied Houthis and driving Yemen's internationally recognized government from power.

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Saleh and the Shi'ite Muslim Houthis had made common cause against Hadi loyalists. This week's fighting reportedly left aid workers trapped inside a building and unable to administer support to civilians.

But news of his death appears to have divided Yemenis.

Unverified footage circulated showing his bloodied body, just days after he tore up his alliance with the Houthis following almost three years in which they had jointly battled the Saudi-led coalition.

Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them.

The coalition will either have to continue waging a grinding war, possibly trying big offensives against Houthi-held areas at the risk of high civilian casualties, or offer compromises to bring the powerful Houthis to the negotiating table.

Earlier on Monday, Abdullah Saleh, a resident living in Sanaa's southern Al Sabaeen district, said the Houthis had stormed the homes of numerous Saleh loyalists in the nearby neighbourhoods of Hadah and Beet Bous and besieged the homes of sheikhs close to the former president.

The Yemeni interior ministry said in a brief statement,"The end of the treason militias and the killing of its leader", referring to the General People Congress Party, which Saleh led.

Ali Abdullah Saleh was sworn in as Yemen's President in 1990 following the merger of North and South Yemen. In that critical moment I and my colleagues headed to evacuate our families from Hadah.

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