SANA’A – Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed by his onetime Houthi rebel allies, according to a statement released on Monday by the interior ministry, which the Houthis control.
Saleh, whose corpse was seen being carried away in an online video, had recently broken off his alliance with the Houthis following clashes between his troops and the rebels in the capital city of Sana’a.
“The crisis of the treasonous militias has come to an end after taking complete control of their positions and imposing security in Sana’a, its suburbs and all other provinces,” the ministry said.
In his first statements following Salah’s death, Houthi leader Abdelmalek al-Houthi said in a televised speech that his forces had tried to contact Salah in a bid to avoid the crisis, but were ignored.
Al-Houthi said his forces had aborted a plot by unnamed third parties against his country.
The rebel leader asserted that Saleh’s forces used the same “aggressive” methods of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which has been fighting in Yemen since 2015.
Former President Saleh had maintained a tactical alliance with the Houthis since 2014 to undermine the rule of Yemen’s internationally recognized president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia.
A Houthi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told EFE that Saleh died while fleeing the city when Houthi fighters fired on a convoy in which he was riding as it passed through a checkpoint in an area southeast of Sana’a.
The interior ministry said several senior pro-Saleh officials were also killed.
At least 125 people have been killed and another 238 wounded in clashes in the capital, which first erupted on Thursday, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Red Cross spokesman Adnan Hazam told EFE that the organization compiled these figures from the three hospitals in the capital with which it cooperates.
According to Hazam, the clashes taking place near the committee’s headquarters were halting the distribution of vital medical items to these hospitals.
Amid these developments, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, on Monday called for a “humanitarian pause” by the warring parties on Tuesday from 10 am to 4 pm.
“The streets of Sana’a city have become battlegrounds and people are trapped in their homes, unable to move out in search of safety and medical care and to access basic supplies such as food, fuel and safe water,” the UN representative stated.
On Saturday, Saleh had expressed his readiness for a “new page” in relations with the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which supports Hadi, in order to end its military intervention in Yemen.
The Saudi-led bombing campaign has destroyed much of Yemen’s infrastructure and led to a humanitarian catastrophe.