Ousted Yemen President Killed by Iranian-Backed Houthis

Dec 05, 2017, 01:11
Ousted Yemen President Killed by Iranian-Backed Houthis

Yemen's deposed former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday during clashes in the capital city of Sana'a, marking a risky new turn in the country's civil war. Two of Saleh's associates have confirmed and a third official from the government of Yemen's internationally recongnized president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has also confirmed.

Abdel-Rahman al-Ahnomi, a top Houthi media official, told The Associated Press that Saleh was killed near Marib, the eastern province bordering Saudi Arabia. He was forced to resign after months of protests against him during an Arab Spring uprsing in 2011. The march across Yemen by their combined forces stunned the country's neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, which viewed the Houthis as a proxy force for Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional enemy. But, since they entered it, they seized arms stores, won loyalties and laid down their plans for the day in which they would fight Saleh and probably assassinate him and take over the capital.He dramatically changed the map of the war in Yemen the night he announced on TV that he accepted reconciliation, and assassinating him will not change this.

"We ask civilians to remain at least 500 meters (yards) away from Houthi military vehicles and gatherings", it said. Initial reports indicated he was killed by the rebel group, known as the Houthis - a startling turn, given that Saleh had been allied with the Houthis until sometime last week. Armed men could be seen loading the body into the back of a pickup truck in an empty, sandy lot.

The death was confirmed by Saleh's political party, the General People's Congress (GPC).

Albukhaiti said that fighters had secured key areas south of the capital, including the "very strategic" al-Mesbahi residential area, which is approximately 200 metres from Saleh's home.

Dujarric says that "it is paramount that civilians are protected" and reminds all parties that deliberate attacks on civilians, hospitals and other civilian sites "may constitute war crimes".

"The Sanaa street fighting seems to have split the capital in two parts, with the northern part under the Houthis and the southern under Saleh's fighters".

The latest developments, Saleh's murder in particular, will open the door for a broader conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the country, the analysts said.

As of Monday evening, clashes were still ongoing in Yemen's Houthi-held capital, according to the same source. He also called for the opening of the roads and crossings for relief boats to reach the city and for commercial traffic.

Saudi Arabia has lost a card which could help it eradicate the Iranian threat in Yemen. But that tenuous alliance appeared to snap in recent days after Saleh made gestures of reconciliation toward the Saudis, a move the Houthis called "a coup against our alliance and partnership".

That dealt a serious blow to his already fragile alliance with rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Houthi. The Associated Press also reported the death on Monday (Tuesday NZT).

"Today marked the failure of the conspiracy and treason, a black day for the forces of aggression", he said on Al-Masirah.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition intervened to reinstate Hadi's government.

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