Featured image: A screengrab from a video reportedly showing the body of Ali Abdullah Saleh
The former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was killed on Monday in a reported RPG and gun attack while trying to flee fierce fighting between his loyalists and his former allies the Houthis in the capital Sanaa.
Graphic video shared on social media showed the body of Saleh being carried in the back of a pick-up vehicle. The man had suffered a large head wound.
The Houthi-aligned television station, al-Masirah, stated:
“The interior ministry announces the end of the crisis of the treason militia and the killing of its leader and a number of his criminal partisans.”
Warning: the following pictures contain images of death and injury.
Officials in Saleh’s GPC party confirmed to Reuters that he was killed outside Sanaa, in what sources in the Houthi group said was an RPG and gun attack.
The GPC officials said Saleh was killed south of the capital Sanaa along with the assistant secretary-general of the GPC, Yasser al-Awadi.
Sources in the Houthi group said fighters stopped his armoured vehicle with an RPG rocket and then shot him dead.
Al-Masirah stated that Saleh was killed while trying to flee the capital for Marib province.
Footage of Saleh showed Houthi fighters unfurling a blanket containing the corpse and shouting, “praise God!” and “hey Ali Affash!”, another last name for Saleh.
Media channels in Iran, whose government backs the Houthis, and al-Arabiya, a Saudi channel, also announced Saleh’s death.
Al Arabiya quoted a source in Saleh’s GPC party as saying he was killed by a sniper.
The reports came amid intense fighting and claims from the Houthis, who control Sanaa, that they had destroyed Saleh’s house in the centre of the city.
In a speech late on Sunday, apparently his last, Saleh formally annulled his alliance with the Houthis.
The Houthis had branded him a traitor for allegedly striking a deal with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi coalition aircraft had supported Saleh’s troops in fighting over the last five days.
Salehg ruled for 33 years before being toppled in 2012 during popular protests.
However, he soon allied with the Houthis, with whom he had fought six wars while president, to fight the new Saudi-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Hadi, his former vice-president.