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

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

Houthi TV announced the "killing of the treacherous leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters".

But in recent months, the alliance frayed amid Houthi suspicions Saleh was leaning toward the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi.

Saleh's death was announced by the Houthis rebels who have been fighting Saleh's forces for the past week.

Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana'a. His party's alliance with the Houthis disintegrated and the two sides fought bloody clashes in Sanaa, the capital, that killed dozens of people.

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.

Mr Saleh, 75, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades, was overthrown in 2012 but joined forces with the Houthis three years later.

The Saudi-led air campaign, backed by USA and other Western arms and intelligence, has killed hundreds of civilians but has failed to secure the coalition any major gains in the almost three-year-old campaign to restore Yemen's internationally recognised president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.

On Saturday, Saleh said that he was open to talks with a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels, in what the fighters called "a coup" against their fragile alliance with the former president.

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Saleh allied with the Houthis, and the support of his loyalist military units was key to helping the rebels overrun Sanaa in 2014 - driving out Hadi's government. The rebels later said they had blown up Saleh's home.

Jamie McGoldrick, U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said in a statement that the streets of Sanaa had become "battlegrounds" and that aid workers "remain in lockdown".

Yemen's protracted bloodshed has compounded the woes of one of the Arab world's poorest countries and left at least 10,000 dead as hunger and disease have spread.

Earlier in the day, Sanaa residents had told The National that the Houthis were besieging Saleh's palace, as well as residences belonging to his relatives and prominent supporters.

As news broke of Saleh's death on Monday, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, called for a pause in the fighting in Sanaa, noting that dozens of people had reportedly been killed and hundreds injured, including civilians. The following day the Houthis began to dramatically reverse the Saleh loyalists' gains, however.

He said the Houthis have put a stop to a massive plot, which represented a serious threat to the country and to its stability and security, as well as the unity of its people, by handing it over to its enemies, after they had failed to capture it in almost three years of battle.

'We lived through days of terror.

'The fighting has been so violent we feel we could die at any moment.

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