Yemen rebels say ex-president Saleh killed

Sources in the Houthi group said fighters shot Mr Ali Abdullah Saleh dead.
Sources in the Houthi group said fighters shot Mr Ali Abdullah Saleh dead.

DUBAI • Yemen's Houthi rebels said they killed their ally and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, after their partnership that has fought a Saudi-led coalition for nearly three years collapsed.

The Houthis announced Mr Saleh's killing in a statement yesterday, calling it "the end of the crisis of the treasonous militia".

The Houthis said they had "complete control" of Mr Saleh's "hideouts" in the capital and provinces. The Al-Mithaq newspaper affiliated with Mr Saleh earlier denied "rumours" of his death.

Sources in the Houthi group said fighters stopped Mr Saleh's armoured vehicle with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) and then shot him dead.

Fighting between Mr Saleh's forces and Houthi rebels backed by Iran escalated over the weekend, with the thud of tank artillery and other heavy weapons piercing the air in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam claimed progress, saying fighters had wrested control of homes belonging to Mr Saleh's son Ahmed and nephew Tarik.

Mr Saleh has lived underground since his home was bombed by coalition air strikes.

For the past two years, Saudi Arabia's southern neighbour has been divided into two camps, with the government of the ousted Saudi-backed elected president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi encamped in Aden and the Iran-backed Houthis in control of Sana'a and parts of the north.

The Saudi-led coalition that formed in 2015 to try to reinstate Mr Hadi has devastated swathes of the country with air strikes, and Al-Qaeda militants have exploited the chaos to expand their foothold in the Arabian peninsula.

But the war also marks an extension of the Saudis' proxy fight with Iran, which has left at least 14,000 killed or wounded.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline 'Yemen rebels say ex-president Saleh killed'. Print Edition | Subscribe