Yemen's strongman ex-president killed as battle rages in capital

Jenna Warner
December 5, 2017

The house appeared to have been damaged in fighting.

Saleh on Saturday broke a three-year alliance with the Iran-backed Huthis, opening the door to negotiations with neighbouring Saudi Arabia for the lifting of a crippling blockade.

Houthis have recently turned on Saleh, however, and said Monday that they had killed their former ally.

Tribal forces have meanwhile mobilized to support Saleh.

In May 2015, following Saudi-led coalition air raids on his home in Sanaa, Saleh officially announced for the first time the establishment of his alliance with the Houthis.

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. 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.

A video by Yemen's Houthi rebels allegedly shows the slain body of the country's former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Residents reported that the fighting, which erupted Wednesday, had spread outside the capital.

But even without Mr Saleh's loyalists, the rebels remain a powerful force.

The Houthis have also seized the homes of Saleh and some of his family members in a southern district of Sanaa - the so-called Political District - which witnessed some of the heaviest clashes.

The ex-president also called for an end to the "militia's rule on Yemen's land", adding that the Houthis had continued their "provocative acts against Yemeni citizens".

That dealt a serious blow to his already fragile alliance with rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

The stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced 3 million.

Worldwide aid groups warned on Monday they were losing the ability to reach civilians in Sanaa. "Ambulances and medical teams can not access the injured and people can not go outside to buy food and other necessities", Stephane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman in Yemen, said in a statement on Sunday.

"Aid workers can't travel and implement critical life-saving programmes".

He was forced to resign after months of protests against him during an Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

The forces of the former Yemeni president regained control over the cities and areas under the control of the Houthis.

Other reports by Insurance News

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