Tabnak – In a surprise event that could change the equations on the ground in Yemen, it is reported that Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed during clashes in the country. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has started a new wave of airstrikes on Yemen’s capital.
Yemen’s Interior Ministry issued a statement on Monday, 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 the 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 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.
The statement comes as Saudi Arabia has unleashed a fresh wave of aerial bombardments against targets in Sana’a in an apparent effort to support forces loyal to Saleh.
Local residents have reported that their homes were rattled as Saudi warplanes rained bombs on several locations near Sana’a International Airport and the Interior Ministry, both under the control of the Houthi Ansarullah movement. The aerial strikes started late Sunday and continued into the early hours of Monday.
The casualty count is not known, with sources noting that the airport itself was not pounded during the aerial attacks. Riyadh has intensified its airstrikes since the breakdown of an anti-Saudi alliance between the Houthi fighters and forces loyal to Saleh last week.
Recently, Abdelmalek al-Houthi, leader of the Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, criticized moves by supporters of Abdullah Saleh against the revolutionary movement, saying the “irresponsible” and “suspicious” behavior cannot be justified.
He added, “We were caught unawares by a wave of attacks by individuals affiliated with General People’s Congress party”. Stressing that Yemen’s interests lie in avoiding sedition, the Houthi leader called on citizens and tribal fighters to focus on the battle against the invading Saudi regime and stay away from any provocative acts.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. Over 14,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.