Death of former Yemeni president confirmed, his son reportedly captured by rebels

Death of former Yemeni president confirmed, his son reportedly captured by rebels

The attack took place following a six-day fight in Yemen's capital between the Houthi rebels and the forces supporting ex-President Saleh.

In a speech on Saturday the 75-year-old abandoned Iran-aligned Houthi allies in favour of a Saudi-led coalition, saying he was ready for a "new page" in ties with the coalition and called the Houthis a "coup militia", leading them to accuse him of betrayal.

Circumstances for the alleged death of Saleh, who was the leader of Yemen and its precursor Yemen Arab Republic for decades and cooperated with the USA, were not immediately clear.

The news that Saleh had been killed came just hours after Saudi Arabia chose to back Saleh, calling his fight against the Houthis a "popular uprising".

Earlier on Sunday, the Yemeni ministry said that dozens of Saleh militiamen were arrested, stressing that the "conspiracy" plotted by Saleh against Ansarullah movement was contained and that security was restored to Sanaa.

Saleh ruled the country for 30 years before being forced from power in 2012 following an attempted assassination.

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A senior official with Yemen's internationally-recognized government confirmed to The Associated Press that Saleh had been killed, sending video purportedly showing Saleh's body being carried away by a group of armed men chanting, "Allahu akbar". The following day the Houthis began to dramatically reverse the Saleh loyalists' gains, however. This week's fighting reportedly left aid workers trapped inside a building and unable to administer support to civilians.

The rebel leader claimed many ordinary Yemenis were shocked by (Saleh's) calls for strife, combat, upsetting peace and security, and he says he tried in a fraternal and peaceful way to avoid the current conflict by talking (with Saleh).

The coalition will either have to continue waging a grinding war, possibly trying big offensives against Houthi-held areas at the risk of high civilian casualties, or offer compromises to bring the powerful Houthis to the negotiating table.

He said the Houthis have put a stop to a massive plot, which represented a serious threat to the country and to its stability and security, as well as the unity of its people, by handing it over to its enemies, after they had failed to capture it in almost three years of battle.

Internal rifts have shaken the fragile alliance between the Houthis and Saleh loyalists, who joined ranks in 2014 to seize Sanaa. Members of Saleh's General Peoples Congress later said he had been killed by sniper bullets.

Ali Abdullah Saleh was sworn in as Yemen's President in 1990 following the merger of North and South Yemen. "I made a decision to flee to Al Dhalaa province in the south of the country".

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