Iran-backed Houthis say they’ve killed former Yemeni President Saleh

SANAA (Reuters) - The radio station of Yemen's Houthi-run interior ministry said on Monday the militia's former war ally turned adversary, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, had been killed as fighting racked the capital Sanaa though there

SANAA (Reuters) – The radio station of Yemen’s Houthi-run interior ministry said on Monday the militia’s former war ally turned adversary, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, had been killed as fighting racked the capital Sanaa though there was no independent confirmation.

Unverified footage circulated by Yemeni social media users appeared to a show corpse resembling Saleh. Armed militiamen unfurled a blanket containing the corpse and shouted, “praised God!” and “hey Ali Affash!”, another last name for Saleh.

The radio station said the official Houthi TV station would soon broadcast footage of Saleh’s dead body.

Saleh’s party denied to Reuters that their leader had been killed and said he was still leading forces in heavy fighting in Sanaa that has killed at least 125 people and wounded 238 in six days, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

His whereabouts were unknown and he has made no public appearances since the reports of his death surfaced.

Earlier on Monday, Houthi forces blew up Saleh’s house in Sanaa and came under aerial attack by Saudi-led coalition warplanes for a second day, residents said.

The Saudi-led air campaign, backed by U.S. and other Western arms and intelligence, has killed hundreds of civilians but has failed to secure the coalition any major gains in the nearly three-year-old campaign to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.

Saleh’s loyalists have lost ground on the sixth day of heavy urban warfare with the Iran-allied Houthi militia during which the casualty toll has rapidly mounted in Sanaa.

“We are supporting the main hospitals in Sanaa who urgently need war-wounded kits,” ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said in Geneva. “We are also looking at donating dead body bags to hospitals which are actually asking for them and hope to donate fuel to the main hospitals because they depend on generators.”

The ICRC have “relocated” 13 international staff to Djibouti from Sanaa on Monday, she said.

Sanaa residents reported intense fighting overnight and into the morning with families cowering in their homes as explosions rocked the city. Coalition air strikes hammered Houthi positions in an apparent bid to shore up Saleh’s forces, witnesses said.

The re-alignment of Saleh’s forces with the Saudis would mark a significant turn in a war that is part of a wider struggle between regional powers Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The bloodshed has compounded the woes of one of the Arab world’s poorest countries and left at least 10,000 dead as hunger and disease have spread.

At the United Nations, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the warring parties to stop all ground and air assaults. He also called for the resumption of all commercial imports into Yemen, saying millions of children, women and men were at risk of mass hunger, disease and death.

However, in a speech late on Sunday, Saleh formally annulled his alliance with the Houthis and pledged to step up his fight.

Saleh, who dominated Yemen’s heavily armed tribal society for 33 years before quitting in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, and the Shi’ite Muslim Houthis had made common cause against Hadi loyalists.

But they vied for supremacy over the territory they ran together, including Sanaa, which the Houthis seized in September 2014, and their feud burst into open combat on Wednesday.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam claimed significant gains in the battle for Sanaa on Monday.

“With the aid and approval of God, the security forces backed up by wide popular support were able last night to cleanse the areas in which the militias of treason and betrayal were deployed,” he said in a statement.

The Houthi movement’s TV channel al-Masirah and witnesses said Houthir fighters had seized the downtown home of Saleh’s nephew Tareq, an army general.

Residents said the warring sides traded heavy automatic and artillery fire as the Houthis advanced in the central Political District, which is a redoubt of Saleh and his family.

“We lived through days of terror. Houthi tanks have been firing and the shells were falling on our neighborhood,” said Mohammed al-Madhaji, who lives in the frontline district.

“The fighting has been so violent we feel we could die at any moment. We can’t get out of our homes.”

Houthi media and political sources also reported that the Houthis also advanced toward Saleh’s birthplace in a village outside Sanaa where he maintains a fortified palace.

aseye.assenna@googlemail.com

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10 COMMENTS
  • Nahon December 4, 2017

    As Eritreans read news of demise of Ali Abdulla Saleh, most probably, there is a person who constantly keeps coming to their mind … guess who ?

    • amanuel December 4, 2017

      Iseyas is what comes to their mind

  • amanuel December 4, 2017

    Radio tefash is hailng president abdella saleh and the people of yemen. They have not learned he was defeated and dead. Abet hifret. Radio tefash si nay behaki tefisha.

  • Danilo December 4, 2017

    Arab states are becoming failed states from A to Z. May God give PALESTINE a role of guidance to start with…

  • Aba thimmer December 4, 2017

    Danilo, what about Africa? does Eritrea takes a role on behalf?

  • amanuel December 4, 2017

    Abdella salih of yemen the best friend of iseyas, who ruled for 27 years, dead. That is the end story of all dictators. Surprisingly hgdf put out hateta on dec. 3 congratulating him for trying to make a peace deal with saudi. Hgdfs dimtsi tefash said congratulatios to president abdella salih and the people of yemen. Feel sorry for the journalists who have to read what ever they are given by hgdf everyday.

  • almaz December 4, 2017

    Abdella salih of yemen the best friend of iseyas, who ruled for 27 years, dead. That is the end story of all dictators. Surprisingly hgdf put out hateta on dec. 3 congratulating him for trying to make a peace deal with saudi. Hgdfs dimtsi tefash said congratulatios to president abdella salih and the people of yemen. Feel sorry for the journalists who have to read what ever they are given by hgdf everyday.

    • almaz December 4, 2017

      Ps
      Simply a lie. Love

  • Simon G December 4, 2017

    ከሪቡ ‘ምበኣር!
    ባባ ኢሳያስ: ሰሚዕካዶ?
    Next?

  • Hatati December 5, 2017

    Another Arab on Arab crime? What saddens me is the slavery and crimes committed by Arabs on innocent unarmed black Africans and Eritreans. What Arabs do to each other is their business.
    Why do Arab Muslims kill each other and celebrate death this much? It is the same story from Afghanistan to Morocco. You saw it last week in Egypt.
    Has this anything to do with their Islamic Sharia laws? Asking to learn something from the experts here.

    • N. B. December 6, 2017

      Eritrea under the rule of Wedi Medhin Brad is putting its nose in the business of Arabs and prostituting with them to the higher bidder.

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