Ex-president of Yemen killed by rebels

File Ali Abdullah Saleh who was President of Yemen for decades and once compared governing the country to

Yemen fighting will lead to 'more tragedy'

The collapse of the alliance between Saleh and the rebels saw at least 100 people reported dead in fighting, accusations of betrayal and the former leader reaching out to the Saudi-led coalition.

On Saturday he abruptly switched sides, defecting to the Saudi-led Gulf coalition that has been bombing Houthi forces in northern Yemen. The new situation is critical and unsafe, 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.

Yemen's veteran former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in a roadside attack after switching sides in the country's civil war.

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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.

It was a bitter end for the former president who had ruled the north of Yemen and then a united north and south for almost 34 years.

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As president of Yemen, Saleh had fought the Houthis in five conflicts between 2005 and 2012, before allying with them in 2014 after the Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation to restore the internationally-recognized president, Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi, after the Houthis had deposed and arrested him.

Speaking from Sanaa, Hakim al-Masmari, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post, described Saleh as "probably the most powerful person" in Yemen and said the reports of his death had left the country "in shock and awe".

But the head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition. "We can only be sure that the Houthis are now united under one leadership". His death puts the exclamation point on the end of an era in Yemen that had, for all intents and purposes, already come to a close.

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Any hope of the coalition that Mr Saleh could have been bought off to help turn the tables against the Houthis after a protracted stalemate, in which a Saudi-led blockade and internal fighting has exposed millions to hunger and epidemic, has been dashed. It was said that they were the strongest party, and that any attempt at driving them out would lead to a bloody war between the two parties in the city's historic streets.

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