Yemen: dozens killed in fierce fighting over weekend

Yemen rebel alliance teeters as strongman turns to Saudis

The leader of Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels says his forces have killed the country's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh for his "treason".

Those Houthi rebels' links to Iran led to a persistent air campaign from Yemen's neighbor Saudi Arabia, further plunging the country into violence and competing claims for the right to govern.

Yemenis in the war-torn country's capital crowded into basements overnight as Saudi-led fighter jets pounded the positions of Houthi rebels, who are now fighting forces loyal to a former president for control of the city. It was the fourth day of clashes sparked by what Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) called an attempt to seize a main mosque in the city.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 125 people were killed and 238 wounded in six days of fighting in Sanaa.

A senior official with Yemen's internationally-recognized government confirmed to The Associated Press that Saleh had been killed, sending video purportedly showing Saleh's body being carried away by a group of armed men chanting, "Allahu akbar".

In a televised address, Saleh called for new relations with the Saudi-led coalition, which he and the Houthis have been battling for nearly three years (since March 2015).

Yemen Interior Ministry Confirms Death of Ex President Saleh

Residents in the capital of Sanaa mired in the humanitarian catastrophe said that they had witnessed the explosion at Saleh's home.

The news that Saleh had been killed came just hours after Saudi Arabia chose to back Saleh, calling his fight against the Houthis a "popular uprising".

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting.

"Saleh's actions in Yemen, in working with his former opponents the Houthis, were complicating numerous efforts at resolving the conflict", Harrison Akins, a researcher with the Howard Baker Center, told Newsweek.

The coalition imposed a total blockade in October on the country, where almost 80% of the people need humanitarian aid to survive. Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as an Iranian proxy on its doorstep, and the rivalry between the two regional powers has amplified the conflict.

In response, Houthi chief Abdul-Malek al-Houthi made a surprise speech this morning, calling on Saleh and tribal leaders to intervene to stop the internal bloodshed and reunite the internal ranks to face the "aggression", in reference to the Saudi-led military coalition.




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