Saleh's death unites Yemeni parties

Yemen's war has left thousands dead led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and deepened tensions between Middle East rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran

Yemen's war has left thousands dead led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and deepened tensions between Middle East rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran

It will support besieging Houthis in their areas in Northern Yemen in case the commanders of Saleh's army made a decision to fight alongside the Yemeni army.In the past few days, Saleh attempted to liberate Sanaa, which has been occupied by the coup perpetrators since 2014, when Houthi forces took over the headquarters of the First Brigade, leading to the defeat of all other military and security bodies without any resistance.Questions are today raised about how strong Houthis are in Sanaa.

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

Former leader killed in grenade and gun attack, Houthis say, as death is also confirmed by Saleh's own political party.

Saleh who ruled with an iron fist for three decades had joined forces with the Shiite Huthi rebels in 2014
Saleh who ruled with an iron fist for three decades had joined forces with the Shiite Huthi rebels in 2014

A video provided to AFP by the rebels showed what appeared to be a dead Saleh with a severe head injury, his body wrapped in a floral-print blanket. Houthi sources said Saleh was killed by the rebels in a rocket-propelled grenade and shooting attack on his auto at a checkpoint outside Sanaa.

As the first reports of Saleh's death came in, the Saudi-led coalition that has waged devastating airstrikes against the Houthis since September 2015 warned residents to evacuate rebel-controlled areas.

"This is after he and his men blockaded the roads and killed civilians in a clear collaboration with the enemy countries of the coalition", the statement said.

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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. Most people were indoors, and streets were deserted amid a state of fear as the Houthis asserted full control.

Fighting erupted between the Iranian-allied Shiite rebels and forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh last week, unraveling their fragile alliance, formed in the face of the internationally-recognized government and Saudi-led coalition.

Houthi also said he had sent several warnings to Saleh. Jamie McGoldrick, Yemen's Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator for the United Nations, warned that the death of Mr. Saleh would only lead to "more tragedy" in the country.

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Residents reported that the situation in Sanaa had calmed. He finally left power in early 2012, but retained a strong influence with many armed loyalists in the country. "But this is far from over - Saleh was an icon in Yemen for millions, and so his death will not go slowly or unanswered".

The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the November 5 explosion in Riyadh, saying they fired a long-range ballistic missile that travelled more than 800km over the border with Saudi Arabia.

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

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