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Yemen war: Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh 'killed'

07 December 2017

Former Yemeni President Ali Saleh, who was killed by the Houthi rebels, was buried on Wednesday without great solemnities, media reported.

The U.N. Security Council is calling on all sides in Yemen to de-escalate the sharp upsurge in violence and re-engage with U.N. political efforts to achieve a cease-fire without preconditions.

The council warned of "the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen", saying the country "stands at the brink of catastrophic starvation".

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. A spokesman quoted Aboul-Gheit as saying the global community should label the Houthis a "terrorist" organization.

Everyone knows that it was Iranian intelligence that provided Houthi militias with Saleh's plan of action, and gave clear instructions to take him and his companions out in cold blood. "He got what he deserved", Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

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Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, a rebel leader, said Tuesday that "some sons" of Saleh have been hospitalized, without providing further details. "We call on the Houthi rebels to immediately release the TV channel's journalists". A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting the Houthis continues to blockade much of the country.

- More than 200 people have already died from the war in Yemen this month, with over 400 injuries.

Francois Delattre spoke to reporters before heading into the Security Council Tuesday to hear a long scheduled closed briefing by United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Saleh was forced to step down in 2012 after his forces waged a bloody crackdown on peaceful Arab Spring-inspired protests calling for his ouster.

It also shatters hopes by Yemen's Saudi-backed government that Saleh's recent split with the Iranian-backed rebels, known as Houthis, would have weakened them and given the government and the Saudi coalition backing a chance for a turning point in the stalemated war that has brought humanitarian disaster.

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Earlier in the day, Yemen's Interior Ministry issued a statement confirming the death of Saleh during clashes in capital Sana'a.

Saleh was killed on Monday after he tried to break off the alliance with the Houthis and negotiate with the Saudi coalition.

In other areas like Fag Attan, Saleh's forces are still surrounded by Houthis. The coalition has imposed a blockade on the country, with the aim of reinstating the internationally recognized government of Saleh's successor, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The ensuing conflict has claimed more than 8,750 lives.

When Saleh left power, he stayed in the country and kept the loyalty of many military commanders, splitting the armed forces between himself and Hadi. That seems to have pushed Saleh into flirting with the coalition, ultimately leading to the breakdown of the rebel alliance.

A least 234 people were killed in fighting that the International Committee of the Red Cross described as the fiercest since the start of the conflict.

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Houthi supporters massed in their thousands near the capital's global airport, shouting "Sanaa is free and the state still stands!" and "Yemenis are one!" as rebel chiefs struck a conciliatory tone, declaring they were "ensuring the safety" of members of the GPC - a statement that stood in sharp contrast with the GPC's claims of a Houthi charge against them. Speaking to reporters by phone from Sanaa, he said that "at the same time, people are bracing themselves for more".

Yemen war: Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh 'killed'