Hadi calls on Yemenis to rise up against Houthis after Saleh's death

Cheryl Sanders
December 5, 2017

Yemen's ex-president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was killed by Houthi rebels on Monday as he fled heavy fighting in Sanaa after the collapse of his alliance with the Iran-backed insurgents.

Mr Saleh's forces and Houthis joined ranks in 2014 against Mr Hadi's government, forcing him to seek military intervention by his Gulf neighbours. He did not mention Saleh's death.

Although Saleh had been repeatedly subjected to criticism for alleged corruption, "he allowed Yemen to maneuver very hard waters" keeping the geopolitical balance between Saudi Arabia and other powers of the region, Shakdam noted.

"Let's put our hands together to end this nightmare", said Mr Hadi, who succeeded Mr Saleh in 2012.

As president, Saleh had been a close ally of both Saudi Arabia and the United States, which considered him a partner in the fight against al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and a bulwark against the influence of Iran.

The radio station of Yemen's rebel-run Interior Ministry announced Saleh's death Monday, but provided no details.

Video showing the lifeless body of Saleh, 75, was posted on the internet Monday.

Blood stained his shirt under a dark suit.

In a televised speech on Monday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi hailed Mr Saleh's death as a victory against the Saudi-led bloc, congratulating Yemenis "on this historic, exceptional and great day in which the conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed, this black day for the forces of the aggression".

His death and the fighting between his supporters and the Houthis puts the civil war on an unpredictable path.

Firefighters hose a building in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

Mr Hadi's forces, trying to take advantage of the collapse of the alliance, announced they would march on Sanaa.

Saleh on Saturday 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.

He was forced to resign after months of protests against him during an Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

He added that he had sent several warnings to Mr Saleh.

Unverified footage circulated showing his bloodied body, just days after he tore up his alliance with the Houthis following almost three years in which they had jointly battled the Saudi-led coalition.

"It's a dark day for the forces of the coalition". The development was confirmed by Saleh's General People's Congress party.

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.

A senior official with Yemen's internationally-recognised government confirmed Mr Saleh had been killed.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the video, which was circulating widely.

He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes. They managed to get rid of Saleh, their new enemy, and disrupt his project but, practically speaking, they are no longer decision-makers in the major war and their hope for influencing the new ruling system has been destroyed.Houthis are no longer power partners, but the assassinators of President Saleh - a crime they can not justify.

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