Ex-Yemen president killed while trying to escape Sanaa

Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen’s former leader has been killed while allegedly attempting to flee the country, days after ending an alliance with Houthi rebels.

Ali Abdullah Saleh led the country for more than three decades, until the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

Houthi-run Masirah TV reported he had been killed on Monday, and the news was confirmed by Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

Video released by the Houthis allegedly shows the slain body of Saleh being wrapped in a blanket and put on the back of a pick-up truck, while people chant “God is great”.

Houthi sources said rebel fighters had stopped Saleh’s armoured vehicle with an RPG rocket and then shot him dead.

Meanwhile, top Houthi media official Abdel-Rahman al-Ahnomi confirmed the former leader was killed near Marib, which borders Saudi Arabia.

He said: “He was trying to flee to Saudi.”

Officials in Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party said he was killed outside Sanaa.

Saleh had announced the end of his alliance with Iran-backed Houthis on Saturday, which sparked warnings of retribution.

He had joined the ranks of his former enemies in 2014, to drive the Saudi-backed government out of the capital.

Despite being ousted from his position in 2011, he controlled the country from behind the scenes, and united with the Houthis although he had gone to war with them on more than one occasion.

The rebel alliance splintered last week, setting off heavy clashes between the Houthis and Saleh’s forces.

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