Houthi rebels 'in control' of Yemen capital, Saleh forces say claims false

Lucy Bush
December 5, 2017

Yemen's General People's Congress (GPC) party, founded by the country's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has confirmed the death of its leader, the Al Arabiya TV channel reported on Monday.

A video circulating online purported to show Saleh's body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters. Initial reports indicated he was killed by the rebel group, known as the Houthis - a stunning development given that Saleh had been allied with the Houthis until just a few days ago.

In a televised interview, Salah also called for resuming relations with Saudi Arabia, if the Saudi-led coalition lifts its blockade of Yemeni ports and air facilities.

The circumstances of Saleh's death were unclear but Houthi officials said their forces caught up with him as he tried to flee capital city Sanaa.

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Saleh's supporters managed on Saturday to seize control of several embassies and government buildings from the Houthis.

The Saudi-led coalition started attacking in Yemen in 2015 in a bid to restore the official government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile. But he recently switched his alliance to Saudi Arabia, which has led a three-year bombing campaign against the Houthis in Yemen and implemented a blockade of Yemeni ports.

The apparent shift in position came as Saleh's forces battled Houthi fighters in Hadda, a district in southern Sanaa where members of Saleh's family, including his nephew Tareq, live.

It was a grisly end for a figure who was able to rule the impoverished and unstable country for more than three decades and remained a powerhouse even after he was ousted in a 2011 Arab Spring uprising.

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Tensions between the Houthi and Saleh's party rose Wednesday after Saleh's supporters refused access of the Houthis to the Saleh Mosque in the south of Sanaa to secure a religious ceremony to commemorate birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting. Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them.

Almost one million people have been infected by cholera in Yemen this year, including more than 2,200 people who have died, according to the World Health Organization.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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