Saudi attacks hit Yemeni capital after former president killed


SANAA, Yemen – Heavy air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit the Yemeni capital overnight, targeting the densely populated neighborhoods of Sanaa in apparent retaliation for the badbadination of the former Yemeni president by the government. country Shiite rebels, residents said.

The body of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had appeared in a video of the militias with a large head wound, was taken to the military hospital controlled by the rebels of the city, but it was not immediately clear if the rebels allow Saleh's family to hold a funeral later.

The horrific images of the previous day shocked the followers of Saleh, a spooky ending reminiscent of his contemporary, Moammar Gadhafi of Libya, in 2011. [19659006] Saleh's son, Salah, said on Facebook on Tuesday that will receive condolences for the death of his father until "after avenging the blood" of the strong man of all life. Salah also urged his father's followers to fight against their former allies, the Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

From Cairo, Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit issued a statement on Tuesday denouncing the "murder" of Saleh by "criminal militias" and warned that Yemen's situation could explode further and worsen the situation. humanitarian crisis. League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi quoted Aboul-Gheit as saying that the international community should label the Houthis as a "terrorist" organization.

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he was open to a "new page" with Saudi Arabia. Two days later, members of his political party said he had died. (Sarah Parnbad / The Washington Post)

"All means must be addressed for the Yemeni people to get rid of this black nightmare," he said.

Saleh's murder probably gives the rebels the advantage in the days fighting for Sanaa while shattering the hopes of the Yemen-backed government of Saudi Arabia that the recent separation of the former president with the Houthis would have weakened them.

That would give support to the internationally recognized Yemeni government and to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia Houth is an opportunity for a turning point in the stagnation of the conflict that has caused humanitarian disasters.

But with Saleh's forces seemingly in disarray, it was not immediately clear if the coalition led by Saudi Arabia would be able to turn the division into an advantage in the war. Many residents of Sanaa remained squatting in their homes, fearing Saudi rebels and air strikes, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of their safety.

Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until an Arab Spring uprising forced him to resign in 2012. He later sided with the Houthi rebels in the hope of exploiting his strength to return to power. That helped boost Yemen to the ruinous civil war that has spread hunger and disease among its 28 million people.

Houthi officials said that their fighters killed Saleh when he tried to flee the capital for his nearby town, Sanhan. The main leader of the Houthis, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, said that Saleh paid the price of his "betrayal" and accused him of betraying his alliance with the coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

Houthi and Saleh-loyal forces have been fighting in Sanaa since the end of last week. The Saudi-led coalition has been attacking Houthi's positions with air strikes, in the hope that having Saleh on his side after his split with the rebels could provide a foothold in the capital for the forces of the backed president for Saudi Arabia, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. [19659006] From the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where he has exiled himself for most of the war, Hadi tried on Monday to reunite Saleh's allies to maintain the fight against the Houthis.

When Saleh left power, he stayed in the country and maintained the loyalty of many military commanders, dividing the armed forces between him and Hadi. Saleh's forces were instrumental in helping the Houthis invade Sanaa in 2014 and much of the north and center of the country.

But over the past year, the Houthis seem to have mined Saleh, courting some of his commanders, strengthening his own fighters and reducing his need for him. It seems that he pushed Saleh to flirt with the coalition, which eventually led to the collapse of the alliance with the Houthis and the recent outbreak of fighting.

The struggle has brought new suffering to the residents of Sanaa; Many said that the night was shattered by the shooting and the children screaming.

Witnesses said that the bodies of dead civilians and combatants littered the streets as no ambulance could reach the area.


Michael reported from Cairo.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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