Yemen civil war leader killed by enemy group

Alleged body of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh

Houthi fighters ride on the back of a truck during clashes with forces loyal to Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Saudi-led coalition on Saturday welcomed Saleh's offer of talks, a move the Huthi-run Al Masirah TV said showed the coalition's "faith" that the former president would reverse alliances.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the video, which was circulating widely on social media. The Houthis' Interior Ministry said Saleh was killed by rebels from the Shiite group.

Reports in Iranian media and Al Jazeera, based in Qatar, also claimed that the leader had been killed.

On this regard, Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani said on Thursday, on the sidelines of the third edition of the Mediterranean Dialogues Forum, that Abdullah Saleh's insult to Qatar is unjustified.

In a speech late on Sunday, apparently his last, Saleh formally annulled his alliance with the Houthis.

Yemen expert Nadwa Dawsari, of non-profit Project on Middle East Democracy, said Saleh's killing could have grave consequnces for the country.

Alleged body of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Arabic Alleged body of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh

Saleh announced on Saturday he was ready to turn a "new page" in ties with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on Yemeni citizens, in a move that could pave the way to end almost three years of war, Reuters reported.

Saleh ruled for 33 years before being toppled in 2012 during popular protests.

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh officially broke with his Houthi militia allies, calling on his supporters to rise up against them across the country. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield political power from behind the scenes.

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting.

The stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced 3 million.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Huthis, which Tehran strongly denies.

The education ministry canceled classes on December 3, normally the start of the school week, and witnesses said some bodies of those killed in previous clashes were still lying in the streets, AFP reported.

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