Ex-Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh killed by Houthi forces

06 December, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Deadly rebel infighting rocks Yemen capital for second night

Houthi fighters backed by Iran in Yemen said yesterday that they had killed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president, after he deserted his Shia allies.

"Our appeals to the leader of the conference were met with a negative attitude", Houthi said.

In a televised speech on Monday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi hailed Mr Saleh's death as a victory against the Saudi-led bloc, congratulating Yemenis "on this historic, exceptional and great day in which the conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed, this black day for the forces of the aggression".

According to Al Arabiya, the GPC sources said that "Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed during clashes with the Houthis in the country's capital of Sana'a".

Media sources, the Yemeni Ministry of the Interior and the Houthis have all reported that Saleh was killed today; his General People's Congress confirmed the claims later in the day.

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Multiple images and videos of what appeared to be Saleh's dead body were posted to social media sites, though could not be immediately confirmed.

It was a grisly end for a figure who was able to rule the impoverished and unstable country for more than three decades and remained a powerhouse even after he was ousted in a 2011 Arab Spring uprising.

"Saleh's actions in Yemen, in working with his former opponents the Houthis, were complicating numerous efforts at resolving the conflict", Harrison Akins, a researcher with the Howard Baker Center, told Newsweek.

In this January 3, 2017 file photo, tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels chant slogans during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces.

On Saturday, Saleh said that he was open to talks with a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels, in what the fighters called "a coup" against their fragile alliance with the former president. But he recently switched his alliance to Saudi Arabia, which has led a three-year bombing campaign against the Houthis in Yemen and implemented a blockade of Yemeni ports.

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Meanwhile, Mr Hadi, Yemen's president, ordered his forces to retake the capital from the Houthis, an official from his office said.

A military commander loyal to Saleh told Xinhua by phone saying that "overnight, the coalition planes airdropped weapons and different kinds of communications equipment to the commanders who are leading the anti-Houthi uprising in Sanaa".

Residents in the capital of Sanaa mired in the humanitarian catastrophe said that they had witnessed the explosion at Saleh's home.

In 2014, his forces allied with the Houthis despite the fact that as president he had gone to war with them on more than one occasion.

The country descended into a wider civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people while drawing in a Saudi-led military coalition, backed by the United States.

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The two groups have been fighting the government of current President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed by the Saudi-led coalition, for almost three years.

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