Former Yemeni president said to have been killed

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Yemen's deposed former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday during clashes in the capital city of Sana'a, marking a unsafe new turn in the country's civil war.

A video provided to AFP by the rebels showed what appeared to be a dead Saleh with a severe head injury, his body wrapped in a floral-print blanket.

Saleh, who was forced to step down by a 2011 mass uprising against his 33 years in office, said Yemen's parliament, which is dominated by his GPC party, was the only legitimate power in the country and was ready for talks with the coalition.

"I call upon the brothers in neighboring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighborliness", Saleh said in a televised speech.

Saleh was killed two days after he publicly broke off ties with the Houthis, amid intense street battles between the rival factions that led to the killing of dozens of people.

Yemenis in the war-torn country's capital crowded into basements overnight as Saudi-led fighter jets pounded the positions of Houthi rebels, who are now fighting forces loyal to a former president for control of the city.

Saleh who ruled with an iron fist for three decades had joined forces with the Shiite Huthi rebels in 2014
Saleh who ruled with an iron fist for three decades had joined forces with the Shiite Huthi rebels in 2014

Earlier on Monday, a Sanaa-based activist said that the Houthis had gained control of most of Sanaa from Saleh's forces.

Albukhaiti said that fighters had secured key areas south of the capital, including the "very strategic" al-Mesbahi residential area, which is approximately 200 metres from Saleh's home. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.

But the head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition. But, since they entered it, they seized arms stores, won loyalties and laid down their plans for the day in which they would fight Saleh and probably assassinate him and take over the capital.He dramatically changed the map of the war in Yemen the night he announced on TV that he accepted reconciliation, and assassinating him will not change this.

Unverified footage circulated showing his bloodied body, just days after he tore up his alliance with the Houthis following almost three years in which they had jointly battled the Saudi-led coalition.

"You can not say this is the end of his political movement, but it's a very big blow", he said. His death puts the exclamation point on the end of an era in Yemen that had, for all intents and purposes, already come to a close. "But this is far from over - Saleh was an icon in Yemen for millions, and so his death will not go slowly or unanswered". In recent weeks, Houthis have claimed responsibility for rocket attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which Gulf leaders have publicly accused Iran of helping facilitate. "Before there were two leaderships, two different agendas, two different ways how to win the war".

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