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Ali Abdullah Saleh killed by Houthis trying to flee Yemen's Sanaa

Ali Abdullah Saleh killed by Houthis trying to flee Yemen's Sanaa

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the ex-president of Yemen has been killed in an attack on his house in Capital Sanaa, media reports said.

Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, in a lengthy speech aired on the Houthis' TV network al-Masirah, described Saleh's killing as a "historic defeat to the forces of the coalition", referring to the Saudi-led alliance of Arab states fighting them.

Graphic video shared on social media showed the body of Saleh being carried in the back of a pick-up vehicle. The Houthis' Interior Ministry said Saleh was killed by rebels from the Shiite group.

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.

The Huthis stopped the four-car convoy about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Sanaa and shot dead Saleh, GPC secretary general Arif al-Zouka and his deputy Yasir al-Awadi, a military source said.

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.

But in recent months, the alliance frayed amid Houthi suspicions Saleh was leaning toward the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi.

Mohammed HUWAIS
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed

In late 2014, Houthis backed by Saleh loyalists captured the capital, prompting Yemen's internationally recognized government led by Hadi to flee to Aden.

Saleh has accused the Huthis of seeking to monopolise power and the rebels have accused the strongman of treason over his suspected contacts with Saudi Arabia.

"In addition, the fault lines of the conflict pre-date Saleh's involvement with the Houthis and numerous foreign powers involved in the Yemeni conflict are driven by their own strategic interests in the region", he added. Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them.

Yemen's war has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, displaced more than two million people, and caused a cholera outbreak infecting almost one million people.

Fierce fighting around Yemen has reportedly killed dozens of people over the weekend (December 2 to 3).

More than 15,000 people have been killed, roughly half of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

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