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Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh killed
05 December 2017, 02:13 | Floyd Cook
Houthi Shiite fighters gather outside the residence of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa Yemen
Iran-allied Houthi forces claimed to have killed Yemen's powerful ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday, while Saudi-led fighter jets pounded areas of the country's capital in the intensifying and bloody battle for control of the city.
"The leader of treason has been killed", Houthis' TV network al-Masriah said.
Unverified footage circulated on social media appeared to a show corpse resembling Saleh, wrapped in a floral-print blanket with a severe head injury.
The fighting that led to Saleh's death also apparently allowed the Houthis gain control of the majority of Yemen's capital Sanaa.
The death of a leader who played a significant role in Yemeni politics is stunning, but experts say Saleh's death won't change the face of the conflict significantly.
The Houthis' political office on December 2 accused Saleh of staging a "coup" against "an alliance he never believed in".
Sayyid said that Saleh and other top party officials came under Huthi gunfire as they fled the rebel-held capital towards territory firmly controlled by loyalists of the former president.
The Saudi-led coalition started attacking in Yemen in 2015 in a bid to restore the official government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.
But in recent months, the alliance frayed amid Houthi suspicions Mr Saleh was leaning toward the Saudi-led coalition backing Mr Hadi.
The Houthis had branded him a traitor for allegedly striking a deal with Saudi Arabia.
"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries... to stop their aggression and lift the blockade... and we will turn the page", he said in a televised speech. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.
Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad attempted to mediate to end the tension between the two conflicting forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthis in Sanaa.
Almost one million people have been infected by cholera in Yemen this year, including more than 2,200 people who have died, according to the World Health Organization.
Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Huthis, which Tehran strongly denies.
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