Yemen's Ex-President Saleh Reported Killed In Fighting

05 December, 2017, 02:08 | Author: Ora Austin
  • FILE Flag of Yemen

Former president Saleh and the Yemeni military fought the Houthi rebels five times from 2005 to 2014, before becoming allies after the Saudi-led coalition took military action in March 2015 to restore President Hadi to power, who had been ousted and imprisoned by the Houthis.

The Saudi-led coalition on Saturday welcomed Saleh's offer of talks, a move the Huthi-run Al Masirah TV said showed the coalition's "faith" that the former president would reverse alliances.

Graphic video shared on social media showed the body of Saleh being carried in the back of a pick-up vehicle.

Saleh was once allied with the rebel Houthis, a Shiite group linked with Iran.

Reports in Iranian media and Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, also claimed that the leader had been killed.

Houthis have recently turned on Saleh, however, and said Monday that they had killed their former ally.

Inside the city, residents said that Houthi fighters seized television studios of Yemen Today, a news channel owned by Saleh, after clashes that damaged the building. The news that Saleh had been killed came just hours after Saudi Arabia chose to back Saleh, calling his fight against the Houthis a "popular uprising".

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"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries... to stop their aggression and lift the blockade... and we will turn the page", he said in a televised speech.

Two of Saleh's associates have confirmed as has a third official from the government of Yemen's internationally recognised president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The apparent shift in position came as Saleh's forces battled Houthi fighters in Hadda, a district in southern Sanaa where members of Saleh's family, including his nephew Tareq, live.

But even without Saleh's loyalists, the rebels remain a powerful force.

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.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Huthis, which Tehran strongly denies. The fighting and bombing have killed over 10,000 civilians, displaced around 3 million people, and led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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