Ex-Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh killed by Houthi forces

Yemen civil war leader killed by enemy group: reports

Earlier media reports indicated that Houthi rebels, Saleh's former allies-turned-rivals, blew up his residence in Sanaa.

Saleh had previously been aligned with the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels before switching sides to an Saudi-led coalition in the country's blood-soaked civil war.

Saleh said Saturday that he was ready to talk to the Saudi-led coalition if it lifts a crippling blockade imposed on the impoverished country last month after a rebel missile was shot down near Riyadh.

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting.

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

The violence comes amid a civil war in which renegade soldiers loyal to Saleh and Houthi militants had together been fighting pro-government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition. He also called for the resumption of all commercial imports into Yemen, saying millions of children, women and men were at risk of mass hunger, disease and death.

The United Nations said fighting and air strikes had intensified in Sanaa with roads blocked and tanks deployed on many streets, trapping civilians and halting delivery of vital aid including fuel to supply clean water.

Mack told VOA, before news of Mr. Saleh's death, the former president "wanted to have one chance to restore his reputation, which has been terribly, terribly damaged during the past decade".

"The president has ordered vice president Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, who is in Marib [east of Sanaa], to activate military units and advance toward the capital". In wake of the "Arab Spring" Saleh was ousted, and succeded by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

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"Many of the GPC commanders were killed with Saleh and the rebels will not give a chance for Saleh loyalists to capture their breath - they will keep filtering Sanaa of them".

Houthis have recently turned on Saleh, however, and said Monday that they had killed their former ally.

But news of his death appears to have divided Yemenis.

He said his movement would not pursue a vendetta against Saleh's party, however. After a short exile in Saudi Arabia he returned to the country, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.

Supporters of the Houthis drove through Sanaa's streets blasting celebratory war songs.

A mortar shell also struck the Sana'a International Airport today amid increasing clashes between the Houthis and Saleh loyalists.

The Saudi-led coalition praised Saleh for "taking the lead" in the conflict.

Ali Abdullah Saleh was sworn in as Yemen's President in 1990 following the merger of North and South Yemen. His party's alliance with the Houthis disintegrated and the two sides fought bloody clashes in Sanaa, the capital, that killed dozens of people.

The rebels "started shelling the channel's headquarters. I made a decision to flee to Al Dhalaa province in the south of the country".

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