Fierce fighting rages across Sanaa: 'Ex-Yemeni president Abdullah Saleh killed'

“Yemen is passing through a decisive turning point that needs our unity and steadfastness in the face of these sectarian militias

“Yemen is passing through a decisive turning point that needs our unity and steadfastness in the face of these sectarian militias

Yemen's veteran former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in a roadside attack after switching sides in the country's civil war.

Moving to take advantage of the chaos, President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, ordered his forces to advance on the capital. In downtown Sanaa, Saleh's forces clashed with the Houthis, reportedly killing more than 100 people.

Analysts said Saleh's death further diminished hopes of a resolution to the conflict, which has created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

Saleh was forced to step down in 2012, after his forces waged a bloody crackdown on peaceful Arab Spring-inspired protests calling for his ouster.

"Let's join hands to end the control of these. criminal gangs and. open a new chapter to rid our beloved Yemen of this nightmare", Hadi said from Saudi Arabia, where he lives in exile.

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By 2014, the Houthi rebellion that was lurking under the surface gained a new impetus after it allied itself with forces loyal to Ali Saleh and controlled the port of Hodeidah.

A video provided to Agence France-Presse by the rebels showed what appeared to be a dead Saleh with a severe head injury, his body wrapped in a floral-print blanket. Well Semin... Saleh's death has thrown Yemen's almost 3-year-old civil war into unpredictable new chaos.

"We ask civilians to remain at least 500 metres (yards) away from Huthi military vehicles and gatherings", it said.

A senior official with Yemen's internationally-recognized government confirmed to The Associated Press that Saleh had been killed. His brief turn against the Houthis and realignment with the Saudi-backed central government seemed to be part of a strategy by Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the leaders of the United Arab Emirates to turn the tide of the war and isolate the rebels.

Firefighters hose a building in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

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"The president has ordered Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who is in Marib (east of Sanaa), to activate military units and advance towards the capital", a presidency official told Agence France-Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity. He also called for the opening of the roads and crossings for relief boats to reach the city and for commercial traffic.

Warfare between the former allies has torn densely populated Sanaa for days as Houthi fighters seized control of much of the capital and on Monday blew up Mr Saleh's house while coalition jets bombed their own positions.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition intervened to reinstate Hadi's government.

The rebel leader claimed many ordinary Yemenis were shocked by [Saleh's] calls for strife, combat, upsetting peace and security, and he says he tried in a fraternal and peaceful way to avoid the current conflict by talking [with Saleh].

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