Yemen ex-president killed as fighting shakes capital
Yemen ex-president killed as fighting shakes capital
Yemen fighting will lead to 'more tragedy'
05 December, 2017, 02:32
In a televised speech on Monday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi hailed Mr Saleh's death as a victory against the Saudi-led bloc, congratulating Yemenis "on this historic, exceptional and great day in which the conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed, this black day for the forces of the aggression".
Speaking from Sanaa, Hakim al-Masmari, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post, described Saleh as "probably the most powerful person" in Yemen and said the reports of his death had left the country "in shock and awe".
As president of Yemen, Saleh had fought the Houthis in five conflicts between 2005 and 2012, before allying with them in 2014 after the Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation to restore the internationally-recognized president, Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi, after the Houthis had deposed and arrested him.
The war in Yemen, the Arab world's most destitute country, plunged into a new and uncertain chapter Monday when its former president was killed amid an explosive bout of fighting that has convulsed the capital.
A statement declared "end of the crisis of militias", referring to Saleh's armed supporters, and "the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters". Amateur video released by Houthi media show the former president with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, being carried off in a blanket.
The death was first announced on Monday by the Sanaa-based interior ministry, controlled by Saleh's allies-turned-foes, the Houthi rebel movement.
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Earlier on Monday, a Sanaa-based activist said that the Houthis had gained control of most of Sanaa from Saleh's forces.
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.
Saudi Arabia, accusing Iran of backing the rebels, intervened in Yemen on behalf of the government the following year.
Members of his political party claimed Saleh had been killed at point-blank range, after his three-vehicle convoy was stopped by Houthi militiamen.
The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Saleh's change of stance. "But this is far from over - Saleh was an icon in Yemen for millions, and so his death will not go slowly or unanswered".
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.
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