Yemen's Houthi leader hails ex-president's death

Yemen's Houthi leader hails ex-president's death

Smoke rises during a battle between forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi fighters in Sana'a, Yemen on December 2, 2017. It will support besieging Houthis in their areas in Northern Yemen in case the commanders of Saleh's army chose to fight alongside the Yemeni army.In the past few days, Saleh attempted to liberate Sanaa, which has been occupied by the coup perpetrators since 2014, when Houthi forces took over the headquarters of the First Brigade, leading to the defeat of all other military and security bodies without any resistance.Questions are today raised about how strong Houthis are in Sanaa.

According to Al-Jazeera, Saleh was killed by the rebels in a rocket-propelled grenade and shooting attack on his auto at a checkpoint outside Sanaa.

Members of his political party claimed Saleh had been killed at point-blank range, after his three-vehicle convoy was stopped by Houthi militiamen.

The Houthi-run Masirah TV announced the death of the "leader of the traitors" on Monday, referring to Saleh, who until last week was in a fragile alliance with the rebels.

The staement read "Saleh and his supporters have been killed by Houthis rebels". The new situation is critical and risky, and requires the interference of the Yemeni army and coalition forces in Sanaa, as well as working with Saleh's forces, which are still in shock.The people of Sanaa and the forces of the late Saleh have a great interest in fighting a war to reclaim their city from Houthis.




The end of their alliance had seemed poised to transform the fortunes of war after two years of attrition along mostly static front lines, which gave the Saudi-led coalition a new advantage over the Houthis.

The breakdown of the alliance has led the coalition to step up its bombing of Houthi positions, in support of Saleh's forces. He finally left power in early 2012, but retained a strong influence with many armed loyalists in the country.

Analysts said Mr Saleh's death would be a huge moral boost for the Houthis and serious blow to the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the conflict to try to restore the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's Government.

"You can not say this is the end of his political movement, but it's a very big blow", he said. He did not mention Mr Saleh's death.

Former U.S. Diplomat David Mack, now with the Middle East Institute, told VOA Saleh was "one of the smartest political operatives in the Arab world", and the former president believed he had been unjustly driven from office by countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in accord with the United States.

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