Monday, 11 December, 2017

Houthi fighters kill Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Huthi rebel fighters walk in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Yemen rebel alliance teeters as strongman turns to Saudis
Lillian Steele | 06 December, 2017, 01:06

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

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was shot dead on Monday in a roadside attack after apparently switching sides in the country's civil war.

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. A year later, the Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party and Ansar Allah, the political arm of the Houthis, signed an agreement to form a political council to run the country.

Video footage of a body resembling Saleh has been circulating on social media.

Mr Saleh, 75, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades, was overthrown in 2012 but joined forces with the Houthis three years later.

The Saudi-led coalition praised Saleh for "taking the lead" in the conflict.

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. Though he was deposed in 2012, he remained a key factor in the country's ongoing resistance to the Saudi-led, US and British-backed war against the country, allying his forces with Houthi rebels.

The former president's militiamen, however, failed to do so and Ansarullah revolutionaries managed to restore security to the capital, accusing Saleh, whose whereabouts are unknown, of betraying an alliance aimed at confronting a brutal Saudi-led aggression on the Arab impoverished country.

The fighting in the capital of Sanaa caused residents to cower in their homes as explosions rocked the city overnight.

The news that Saleh had been killed came just hours after Saudi Arabia made a decision to back Saleh, calling his fight against the Houthis a "popular uprising".

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.

Earlier in the day, Sanaa residents had told The National that the Houthis were besieging Saleh's palace, as well as residences belonging to his relatives and prominent supporters.

Until recently, Saleh and the Houthis had been allies battling to regain control of the country from the internationally backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

On Sunday, Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted that the uprising against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels "needs support" in order "to protect the Arabian Peninsula from Iran".

The Saudi-led coalition imposed a total blockade in October on the country, where almost 80 percent of the people need humanitarian aid to survive.

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