Ali Abdullah Saleh, former President of Yemen - obituary

Ali Abdullah Saleh, former President of Yemen - obituary

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. Though he was deposed in 2012, he remained a key factor in the country's ongoing resistance to the Saudi-led, US and British-backed war against the country, allying his forces with Houthi rebels.

Saleh's death was announced by the Houthis rebels who have been fighting Saleh's forces for the past week.

According to Al Mayadeen, the Houthi-controlled Interior Ministry has issued a statement saying that there was a plot to ignite feuds in Sana's. His party confirmed that he had been killed.

Saleh loyalists and rebel fighters continued to clash on Saturday afternoon in Sanaa, where violence has left at least 40 fighters dead or wounded since Wednesday according to rebel chief Abdulmalik al-Huthi.

Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was forced to resign following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011, but remained as a key player in national politics and the subsequent civil war.

The Saudi-led air campaign, backed by US and other Western arms and intelligence, has killed hundreds of civilians but has failed to secure the coalition any major gains in the almost three-year-old campaign to restore Yemen's internationally recognised president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.

Earlier on Monday, Abdullah Saleh, a resident living in Sanaa's southern Al Sabaeen district, said the Houthis had stormed the homes of numerous Saleh loyalists in the nearby neighbourhoods of Hadah and Beet Bous and besieged the homes of sheikhs close to the former president.

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Analysts said Mr Saleh's death would be a huge moral boost for the Houthis and serious blow to the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the conflict to try to restore the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's Government.

Aid flights in and out of Sanaa airport had been suspended, the world body said in a statement following its appeal for a humanitarian pause on Tuesday.

At the United Nations, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the warring parties to stop all ground and air assaults. The Associated Press also reported the death.

However, in a speech late on Sunday, the day before his assasination, Saleh formally annulled his alliance with the Houthis and pledged to step up his fight.

He said the Houthis have put a stop to a massive plot, which represented a serious threat to the country and to its stability and security, as well as the unity of its people, by handing it over to its enemies, after they had failed to capture it in almost three years of battle.

'The fighting has been so violent we feel we could die at any moment.

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