Yemen’s Interior Ministry has issued a statement confirming the death of the country’s ousted president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, during clashes in capital Sana’a.
The confirmation came after a Yemeni radio station announced earlier on Monday that Saleh had been killed during clashes in the Yemeni capital.
The Interior Ministry further said in its statement that Saleh had been creating “chaos” in the country through cooperating with “militias of aggression” and by providing help to “extremist militias.”
The ministry added that Yemeni forces, backed by fighters from the popular Ansarullah Houthi movement, were in full control of all positions previously held by Saleh’s militias in Sana’a.
The statement also noted that conflicts, which had plagued Sana’a during past days, were actually over after the death of Saleh.
“The Interior Ministry announces the end of the crisis of the treason militia and the killing of its leader and a number on his criminal partisans,” it added.
Later in the day, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television quoted sources in Saleh’s General Peoples Congress as confirming that he had been killed.
The news channel added that the sources had said Saleh was killed by sniper bullets.
A few hours later, officials in Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) confirmed to Reuters that Saleh had been killed outside Sana’a, in what sources in the Houthi group said was an RPG and gun attack.
The GPC officials said Saleh was killed south of the capital Sana’a along with the assistant secretary-general of the GPC, Yasser al-Awadi.
Earlier on Monday, Saudi Arabia unleashed a fresh wave of aerial bombardments against targets in Yemen’s capital in an apparent effort to support forces loyal to Saleh.
Since November 29, armed clashes sparked by forces loyal to Saleh, have continued against Houthi forces that are at the forefront of a retaliatory war against the Saudi-led military coalition. Saleh loyalists accused the Houthi fighters of raiding their bases across Sana’a and beyond, an allegation that the Houthi leader has strongly denied.
Saleh stepped down following a 2011 uprising after being in power for 33 years. His resignation in 2012 paved the way for Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to assume power as Yemen’s president. Hadi, however, resigned in 2014 and fled the country to Saudi Arabia.
The Houthi movement assumed responsibility for running state affairs after Hadi’s escape threw Yemen into a state of uncertainty and threatened a total security breakdown in the country, where an al-Qaeda affiliate was present.
Later on, Saleh joined forces with the Houthis and the Yemeni army to defend the country against the brutal Saudi aggression, which started in March 2015.
On Saturday, however, Saleh officially announced the end of his alliance with Houthis, claiming that the movement had imposed hunger on the country and worked as an ally of Iran.
Yemenis will resist until final victory: Ansarullah
In an interview with Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network on Monday, Houthi Ansarullah movement’s spokesman, Mohammad Abdulsalam, said the people of Yemen would eventually come out victorious in the war of aggression inflicted on their country by Saudi Arabia.
He added that Yemen’s Houthi fighters and forces affiliated with the allied Popular Committees had managed to uncover and foil a large evil plot, whose goal was to target Yemeni popular forces and to create rift within their ranks.
Abdulsalam further noted that the Houthi forces had no problem with members of Saleh’s party except those “who have betrayed their motherland and cooperated with the aggressors.”
He said members of Saleh’s party were helping the Yemeni forces in defending the country against the enemy, adding, “We want to boost cooperation with them.”
Abdulsalam further stated that the Saudi war machine was still pounding the country and “our nation must resist until the final victory.” He said the Saudi-led coalition continued to bombard the Yemeni capital by conducting at least 50 airstrikes during the past few days.
The Houthi official also noted that the Yemeni nation must stay alert in the face of any similar plot made against the country.
Abdulsalam said the leader of Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, had asked Saleh to correct his pro-Saudi policy and review his recent decision to break his alliance with the Yemeni forces, but “he declined to pay attention to Houthi’s request with arrogance.”
He said the Yemeni forces managed to foil the plot hatched by Saleh and his militia’s to trigger civil war in the country.