A Huthi rebel fighter is seen atop a truck carrying a 23 mm cannon in front of the residence of Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on December 4, 2017. Yemen’s rebel-controlled interior ministry announced on December 4 the ‘killing’ of the ex-president, as a video emerged showing what appeared to be Saleh’s corpse. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed by Houthi rebels on Monday as he fled the capital Sanaa after days of intense street fighting between his forces and the insurgents.
Saleh’s death at the hands of his erstwhile allies dealt a heavy blow to hopes of an end to the country’s protracted conflict and sparked fears of further bloodshed in Sanaa.
Sanaa’s Houthi-controlled Interior Ministry announced the veteran Yemeni leader’s death in a statement. “The militias of treason are finished and their leader has been killed,” the statement said.
CNN has also seen footage and video that appeared to show Saleh’s dead body. The images could not be independently verified.
Saleh was killed when the vehicle he was traveling in came under a fire at a checkpoint south of rebel-held Sanaa, a senior Houthi commander told CNN. Several of his senior aides were also killed, the commander said.
Saleh’s Sanaa home had been under Houthi siege for more than 48 hours before he decided to flee for what he thought would be the safety of his native town of Sanhan.Saleh’s body was brought back to the capital and has been handed over to the leadership of his party, the General People’s Congress.Two days earlier, Saleh announced he was breaking a three-year alliance with the Iranian-backed Houthis, and that he wanted to “turn the page” on relations with the Saudi-led coalition that launched a military intervention against the Houthis in Yemen in 2015.Embed from Getty Images
SANA’A, YEMEN – DECEMBER 04: Houthi fighters are seen on a truck on December 04, 2017 at a street in Sana’a, Yemen. The former President of Yemen was killed on Monday after he appeared to have changed sides and join with Saudi-led military coalition against his former rebel allies. (Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)Embed from Getty Images
SANAA, YEMEN – DECEMBER 04: Firefighters arrive to extinguish the fire at Alkumaim shopping center caused by the clashes between Houthis and Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters in Hadda neighborhood of Sanaa, Yemen on December 04, 2017. Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday by Houthi militiamen. (Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
From Al Jazeera:
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels has praised the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s overthrown president, as a victory against a Saudi-led military coalition that Yemen has been battling.
In a lengthy televised speech aired on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network, Abdul Malik al-Houthi said his fighters killed Saleh for his “treason” and congratulated 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”.
He said the uprising of Saleh’s loyalists against the Houthi group was the greatest threat the Arabian Peninsula country had faced, but that it was defeated in three days.
He said the Houthi group – officially called Ansar Allah (Partisans of God) – would maintain the country’s republican system and would not seek vengeance against Saleh’s party.
“The problem is not with the General People’s Congress (GPC) as a party or with its members,” Houthi said.
The GPC was Yemen’s ruling party under Saleh but is now divided.