Houthi rebels 'in control' of Yemen capital, Saleh forces say claims false

Huthi rebel fighters walk in the Yemeni capital Sanaa

Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, in a lengthy speech aired on the Houthis' TV network al-Masirah, described Saleh's killing as a "historic defeat to the forces of the coalition", referring to the Saudi-led alliance of Arab states fighting them.

Unverified footage circulated by Yemeni social media users on Monday appeared to a show corpse resembling Saleh. It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the video, which was circulating widely.

Two of Saleh's associates have confirmed and a third official from the government of Yemen's internationally recognized president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has also confirmed.

Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh addresses supporters in the capital Sanaa
Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh addresses supporters in the capital Sanaa

Saleh also called for a joint ceasefire between his allies and Houthi rebels, and the Saudi-led coalition, which has been at war with the impoverished country since March 2015.

Members of Saleh's General Peoples Congress later said he had been killed by sniper bullets.

In this January 3, 2017 file photo, tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels chant slogans during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces.

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Residents in the capital of Sanaa mired in the humanitarian catastrophe said that they had witnessed the explosion at Saleh's home.

Tensions between the Houthi and Saleh's party rose Wednesday after Saleh's supporters refused access of the Houthis to the Saleh Mosque in the south of Sanaa to secure a religious ceremony to commemorate birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

United Nations humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock said on Friday that the Saudi-led military coalition must fully lift its blockade on Yemen, where 7 or 8 million are "right on the brink of starvation", Reuters reported.

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Saleh's supporters managed on Saturday to seize control of several embassies and government buildings from the Houthis.

Saleh, 75, ruled Yemen for more than three decades until his ouster under popular pressure in 2012. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes. Iran has denied the accusations.

The Saleh-Houthi split sparked fears of a new front in the Yemen war, which has already claimed more than 8,750 lives since the Saudi-led coalition intervened. Either Houthis will take full control of Sanaa or coalition & Hadi forces will push into city with full force in coordination with GPC.

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