Rabat – Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been killed by the Houthi rebels, two days after an alliance between the Iran-backed Houthis and Saleh appeared to have fallen reached a dead end.
Houthi fighters reportedly used an RPG to stop an armored car transporting Saleh out of the capital, Sanaa, before shooting him. Photos claiming to be of the dead former president have surfaced online.
Yemen’s interior ministry, controlled by the Houthis, first announced Saleh’s death its radio and television station.
“The interior ministry announces the end of the crisis of militias and the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters,” a news anchor revealed on the Houthi television channel, Al-Masirah.
While the General People’s Congress party initially denied reports of Saleh’s death, sources from the party have since confirmed the news to Reuters.
The 75-year-old Saleh left his position in 2012. His fighters fought alongside the Houthis for nearly three years against the government of Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition.
Last week, the alliance between Saleh and the Houthis ended, leading into gun clash on the streets of Sanaa. The attacks broke out a day after Saleh said he was prepared to open a “new page” with the Saudi-led coalition.
The UN announced on December 3 that they were planning to evacuate at least 140 aid workers, who have been confined to their quarters as Saleh-allied forces and the Houthis fought in the streets.
The rebels’ spokesperson, Mohammed Abdel-Salam, indicated that the coalition is targeting Houthi positions in support of Saleh’s forces, reported CBC News.
The editor-in-chief of a Houthi-affiliated newspaper, Mohammed Ali al-Emmad, said the fighting between Saleh and Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, is a “belated battle,” adding that “from day one, Ansar Allah knew that Saleh was a traitor.”
He continued to say that the Houthis have “recordings and evidence” that prove that Saleh “had reached out to the coalition through back channels months ago.”
Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was ousted under popular and political pressure in 2012.