Monday, December 04, 2017

Former Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Said To Have Been Killed

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's former president, has reportedly been killed after his forces and their Houthi rebel allies turned their guns on each other. 

Fighters loyal to Mr Saleh, who was ousted from power in 2012, had been fighting alongside the Houthis for more than two years against the internationally recognised government of Yemen and a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

But last week the alliance between Mr Saleh and the Houthis collapsed and over the weekend the split descended into open warfare on the streets of Sanaa, the rebel-held capital of Yemen.

The 75-year-old Mr Saleh was killed during the fighting, according to Houthi-controlled media.

"The interior ministry announces the end of the crisis of militias and the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters," an anchor said on the Houthi's official Al-Masirah television.

Unverified photographs and video also began to circulate on social media, showing what appeared to be the former president’s body with a grievous head injury.

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There was no official confirmation of Mr Saleh’s death and officials from Mr Saleh’s General People's Congress party had insisted earlier in the day that he was still alive.

The fighting between rebel groups brought chaos to Sanaa, a city already wracked by war and disease, and humanitarian groups said their operations had been paralysed by the street battles.

The Saudi-led coalition tried to take advantage of the schism between rebel groups and stepped up airstrikes against Houthi forces. The coalition warned civilians to get away from Houthi-controlled areas.

Yemen’s official government said it was preparing to mount an offensive against the Houthis in Sanaa but it was not clear if it had the capacity to launch a serious attack.

The Houthis appeared to be in control of most of Sanaa by Monday afternoon and a spokesman said they had defeated most of Mr Saleh’s  forces.

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