Yemen's Houthi leader hails ex-president's death

Posted December 05, 2017

Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed by Houthi rebels near the capital, Sanaa, a development expected to have major implications for the war in the Arab world's poorest country. 6 days of fighting have left more than 125 people dead in the capital, Sanaa.

As the first reports of Saleh's death came in, the Saudi-led coalition that has waged devastating air strikes against the Huthis since September 2015 warned residents to evacuate rebel-controlled areas.

Yemenis in the war-torn country's capital crowded into basements overnight as Saudi-led fighter jets pounded the positions of Houthi rebels, who are now fighting forces loyal to a former president for control of the city.

Earlier on Monday, a Sanaa-based activist said that the Houthis had gained control of most of Sanaa from Saleh's forces. He continued to be a leader despite being forced to resign as a result of the people's protests.Moreover, after an attempt to assassinate him in Al-Nahdeen Mosque, everyone thought Saleh was done, but he spent months receiving treatment for his burns at Riyadh Military Hospital and surprised everyone with his return to continue to rule Sanaa and lead political and military battles.

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The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press.

The end of their alliance had seemed poised to transform the fortunes of war after two years of attrition along mostly static front lines, which gave the Saudi-led coalition a new advantage over the Houthis.

The whereabouts of Saleh's son, and political heir, Tareq, who was leading the fight against the Houthis in the capital at the head of the Presidential Guard regiment remain unclear. He added, "The conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed, this black day for the forces of the aggression".

Saleh on Saturday, December 2, announced he was open to talks with Saudi Arabia and its allies on condition they ended their crippling blockade of Yemen's ports and airports.

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Mack told VOA, before news of Mr. Saleh's death, the former president "wanted to have one chance to restore his reputation, which has been terribly, terribly damaged during the past decade".

The fresh violence has increased fears for civilian victims of Yemen's war, which has claimed more than 8,750 lives since the Saudi-led coalition intervened.

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.

Global aid groups warned Monday they were losing the ability to reach civilians in Sanaa.

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