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Yemen ex-president killed as fighting shakes capital
05 December 2017, 02:32 | Damon Campbell
Yemen fighting will lead to 'more tragedy'
He ruled Yemen for more than three decades and played a pivotal role in the country's ongoing civil war.
Mr Saleh's death could mark a turning point in the proxy war between the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and the Shias of Iran that has left thousands of people dead and caused one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
According to Al-Jazeera, Saleh was killed by the rebels in a rocket-propelled grenade and shooting attack on his auto at a checkpoint outside Sanaa. Yasser al-Awadi, the assistant secretary-general of Saleh's political party, the General People's Congress (GPC), was also killed in the attack.
In a statement read out on a Houthi television network, the interior ministry announced the "killing" of "Saleh and his supporters".
The whereabouts of Saleh's son, and political heir, Tareq, who was leading the fight against the Houthis in the capital at the head of the Presidential Guard regiment remain unclear.
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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. The new situation is critical and risky, and requires the interference of the Yemeni army and coalition forces in Sanaa, as well as working with Saleh's forces, which are still in shock.The people of Sanaa and the forces of the late Saleh have a great interest in fighting a war to reclaim their city from Houthis.
The coalition will either have to continue waging a grinding war, possibly trying big offensives against Houthi-held areas at the risk of high civilian casualties, or offer compromises to bring the powerful Houthis to the negotiating table.
Together they have fought the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 aiming to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile. "But this is far from over - Saleh was an icon in Yemen for millions, and so his death will not go slowly or unanswered". Saudi-led aircraft continued to fly overhead.
Former U.S. Diplomat David Mack, now with the Middle East Institute, told VOA Saleh was "one of the smartest political operatives in the Arab world", and the former president believed he had been unjustly driven from office by countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in accord with the United States. It was said that they were the strongest party, and that any attempt at driving them out would lead to a bloody war between the two parties in the city's historic streets.
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