Yemen civil war leader killed by enemy group

Aircraft from the US-backed Saudi-led coalition bombed Houthi positions in Sanaa overnight on Sunday, residents and local media said, aiming to shore up supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh as they battle the Houthi group.

"In addition, the fault lines of the conflict pre-date Saleh's involvement with the Houthis and numerous foreign powers involved in the Yemeni conflict are driven by their own strategic interests in the region", he added.

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.

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.

Multiple images and videos of what appeared to be Saleh's dead body were posted to social media sites, though could not be immediately confirmed.

The Houthis have also seized the homes of Saleh and some of his family members in a southern district of Sanaa - the so-called Political District - which witnessed some of the heaviest clashes.

Yemen rebel alliance teeters as strongman turns to Saudis
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed

The rift appeared to be part of a plan by the Saudi-led coalition, which was fighting against the Houthis, to turn the tide of the war in their favor.

In May 2015, following Saudi-led coalition air raids on his home in Sanaa, Saleh officially announced for the first time the establishment of his alliance with the Houthis.

Fahim reported from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Saleh ruled for 33 years before being toppled in 2012 during popular protests.

But in recent months, the alliance frayed amid Houthi suspicions Saleh was leaning toward the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting. Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them. "Ambulances and medical teams can not access the injured and people can not go outside to buy food and other necessities", Stephane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman in Yemen, said in a statement on Sunday. Either Houthis will take full control of Sanaa or coalition & Hadi forces will push into city with full force in coordination with GPC.

  • Kyle Peterson