International desk: Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has reportedly been killed after his forces and their Houthi rebel allies turned their guns on each other.
Mr Saleh was ousted from power in 2012 but his fighters have spend two years battling alongside the Houthis against the internationally-recognsed government of Yemen and a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states.
Last week the alliance between Mr Saleh and the Houthis collapsed and over the weekend the split descended into open warfare on the streets of Sanaa, the rebel-held capital.
The 75-year-old Mr Saleh was killed during the fighting, according to Houthi-controlled media.
“The interior ministry announces the end of the crisis of militias and the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters,” an anchor said on the Houthi’s official Al-Masirah television.
Photographs and video soon began to circulate on social media appearing to show Mr Saleh’s body with a grievous head injury. The corpse was paraded by Houthi fighters in much the same way Muammar Gaddafi’s body exhibited by Libyan rebels after his own death in 2011.
There was no official confirmation from Mr Saleh’s General People’s Congress party.
His death marks the end of one of the Arab world’s longest-surviving dictators, who once described running Yemen as “dancing on the heads of snakes”.
Mr Saleh became the ruler of North Yemen in 1978 and then ruler of the entire country when the two Yemens merged in 1990.
After the September 11th attacks, Mr Saleh presented himself as a willing ally of US in the fight against terrorism and cooperated with deadly American drone strikes against Yemen’s al-Qaeda affiliate.
He was forced from power in late 2011 after mass protests inspired by the Arab Spring and only narrowly survived an assassination attempt. He handed power to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, his vice president.
But when Houthi forces rose up against Mr Hadi in 2015, Mr Saleh and his loyalists joined with them.
That alliance began to publicly unravel last week as the two sides fought in Sanaa and on Saturday Mr Saleh said he was ready for a “new page” in relations with Saudi Arabia and Mr Hadi’s government.
The fighting between rebel groups brought chaos to Sanaa, a city already wracked by war and disease, and humanitarian groups said their operations had been paralysed by the street battles. The Telegraph