Former Yemen president, Ali Abdullah Saleh was reportedly killed in a roadside attack on Monday after switching sides in Yemen’s civil war, abandoning his Iran-aligned Houthi allies in favour of a Saudi-led coalition, Reuters said.
Sources in the Houthi militia said its fighters stopped Saleh’s armoured vehicle with an RPG rocket outside the embattled capital Sanaa and then shot him dead. Sources in Saleh’s party confirmed he died in an attack on his convoy.
Unverified footage of his bloodied body lolling in a blanket circulated just days after he tore up his alliance with the Houthis following nearly three years in which they had jointly battled the Saudi-led coalition that intervened to try to reinstate Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
Saleh’s death, close watchers of Yemen say, will be a huge morale boost for the Houthis and a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition. Any hope of the coalition that Saleh could have been bought off to help them against the Houthis has now been dashed and the Houthis have destroyed a powerful new adversary.
The coalition must either continue its long war in Yemen or offer compromises to bring the Houthis to the negotiating table.