Ex-leader of Yemen killed as rival groups of rebels wage war

05 December, 2017, 02:29 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Yemen fighting will lead to 'more tragedy'

Yemen's Houthi rebels, Saleh's one-time allies who turned on him after he reached out to their enemy, Saudi Arabia, said they had ambushed and killed him in a grenade assault on his motorcade, apparently as he was trying to flee to an area outside Sanaa.

Unverified footage of his bloodied body lolling in a blanket circulated 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 that intervened to try to reinstate Yemen's internationally recognised government. He continued to be a leader despite being forced to resign as a result of the people's protests.Moreover, after an attempt to assassinate him in Al-Nahdeen Mosque, everyone thought Saleh was done, but he spent months receiving treatment for his burns at Riyadh Military Hospital and surprised everyone with his return to continue to rule Sanaa and lead political and military battles. Other accounts said Saleh had been shot.

Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed by Houthi rebels near the capital, Sanaa, a development expected to have major implications for the war in the Arab world's poorest country.

Sources in Mr Saleh's party confirmed he died in an attack on his convoy.

Warfare between the erstwhile allies has torn densely populated Sanaa for days, with Houthi fighters seizing control of much of the capital and on Monday blowing up Mr Saleh's house.

Saleh was killed two days after he publicly broke off ties with the Houthis, amid intense street battles between the rival factions that led to the killing of dozens of people. He finally left power in early 2012, but retained a strong influence with many armed loyalists in the country.

Saudi Arabia, accusing Iran of backing the rebels, intervened in Yemen on behalf of the government the following year.

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Speaking later on television, President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, the leader of the internationally recognized government, called on Yemenis to unite against the Huthis.

The Houthis accused Saleh of betrayal, and vowed to keep up the fight against the Saudi-led coalition.

In a televised speech on Monday, Huthi made no mention of Saleh's death but expressed his satisfaction at the day's events.

But the head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition.

The tactical alliance between Saleh and the Houthis had often appeared fragile, with both groups suspicious of each other's ultimate motives and sharing little ideological ground.

Former U.S. Diplomat David Mack, now with the Middle East Institute, told VOA Saleh was "one of the smartest political operatives in the Arab world", and the former president believed he had been unjustly driven from office by countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in accord with the United States.

"This will not bring Yemen any closer to an end in fighting", said al-Masmari.

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