Ex-leader of Yemen killed as rival groups of rebels wage war

Ex-leader of Yemen killed as rival groups of rebels wage war

Yemen's veteran former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in a roadside attack after switching sides in the country's civil war.

A senior official with Yemen's internationally-recognized government confirmed to The Associated Press that Saleh had been killed.

In a lengthy televised speech aired on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network, Abdul Malek 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".

According to Al-Jazeera, Saleh was killed by the rebels in a rocket-propelled grenade and shooting attack on his auto at a checkpoint outside Sanaa. Images of Saleh's lifeless body were broadcast around the world, with Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi stating in an announcement later that day that Saleh had been killed for "treason".

After he agreed to leave office in a deal to end the Arab Spring uprising in Yemen, however, Saleh struck an alliance with the Houthis.

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"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. Saleh ruled Yemen for more than 30 years. The new situation is critical and risky, and requires the interference of the Yemeni army and coalition forces in Sanaa, as well as working with Saleh's forces, which are still in shock.The people of Sanaa and the forces of the late Saleh have a great interest in fighting a war to reclaim their city from Houthis. Other accounts said Saleh had been shot. 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. He finally left power in early 2012, but retained a strong influence with many armed loyalists in the country.

Analysts said Saleh's death further diminished hopes of a resolution to the conflict, which has created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

The tactical alliance between Saleh and the Houthis had often appeared fragile, with both groups suspicious of each other's ultimate motives and sharing little ideological ground.

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.

"We have notified the leader of the traitor and criminal militias to retract, be wise, to stop his militias from continuing committing crimes", he said. "Before there were two leaderships, two different agendas, two different ways how to win the war".

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