Collapse of rebel alliance leads to 'street war' in Yemeni capital

Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh has reportedly been killed by Houthi rebels

Houthi rebels claim they have gained control of most of Yemen's capital Sanaa, a claim denied by forces loyal to the country's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Al Arabiya quoted a source in Saleh's GPC party as saying he was killed by a sniper. Initial reports indicated he was killed by the rebel group, known as the Houthis - a stunning development given that Saleh had been allied with the Houthis until just a few days ago.

A senior Yemeni government official affiliated with Houthis' rivals and some of Saleh's associates, such as Nabil al-Soufi and Ali al-Bukhiti, confirmed his death on social media and TV interviews.

He was escaping from Sana'a with an armored vehicle, when Saudi-led coalition killed him, along with his VP Aref Zoka and the secretary general of the National Congress Party Yaser al-Awazi.

The source said Saleh's death did not mean the end of the "revolution" against the Houthis, and stated Saleh was now a "martyr of the country".

Saleh had on Saturday issued his message to the Saudi-led coalition in a speech broadcast from the studios.

Analysts say the alliance fell apart after Saleh reached out to the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis.

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Saleh has accused the Huthis of seeking to monopolise power and the rebels have accused the strongman of treason over his suspected contacts with Saudi Arabia.

The 75-year-old Saleh had previously ruled Yemen for more than three decades after the country's unification but was toppled in 2012 after popular and political pressure during the so-called Arab Spring.

"In addition, the fault lines of the conflict pre-date Saleh's involvement with the Houthis and numerous foreign powers involved in the Yemeni conflict are driven by their own strategic interests in the region", he added.

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting.

The fighting has killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and raised concern of further casualties among civilians.

The country descended into a wider civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people while drawing in a Saudi-led military coalition, backed by the United States.

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