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Saudi-Led Coalition Provides Air Support for Yemen's Saleh

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Alleged body of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh

Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday following clashes between Saleh loyalists and Iran-aligned Houthi militants, days after their three-year-old alliance collapsed.

A video circulating online on Monday purported to show Saleh's body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters chanting "God is great" who then dump him into a pick-up truck.

Saleh's announcement was welcomed by the Saudi-led coalition, which has struggled to achieve any progress against the Houthi-Saleh alliance that had controlled most of northern Yemen since 2015 and forced president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

The breakdown of the alliance has led the coalition to step up its bombing of Houthi positions, in support of Saleh's forces.

Those Houthi rebels' links to Iran led to a persistent air campaign from Yemen's neighbor Saudi Arabia, further plunging the country into violence and competing claims for the right to govern.

Circumstances of his death remained unclear but some officials said rebels killed him as he tried to leave the capital Sanaa.

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

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting.

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

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

"He was martyred in the defence of the republic", said Faiqa al-Sayyid, a leader in the General People's Congress, blaming Huthi rebels for Saleh's killing south of the capital Sanaa.

The stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced 3 million. Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as an Iranian proxy on its doorstep, and the rivalry between the two regional powers has amplified the conflict. "Ambulances and medical teams can not access the injured and people can not go outside to buy food and other necessities", Stephane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman in Yemen, said in a statement on Sunday.

In 2014, his forces allied with the Houthis despite the fact that as president he had gone to war with them on more than one occasion.

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