Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh killed

Rebels Kill Yemen's Longtime Strongman Saleh as Alliance Collapses

The leader of Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels says his forces have killed the country's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh for his "treason".

But even without Saleh's loyalists, the rebels remain a powerful force and it is unclear how much the break with Saleh weakens them.

Earlier in the day, Saleh urged for talks with the Saudi-led coalition including the UAE forces in order to end the war in Yemen, a move Saudi Arabia welcomed.

"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 AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ali Abdullah Saleh resigned from the presidency of the nation in 2012 after the Arab Spring, but has recently come back to the fore after rebels ousted in predecessor three years later.

The former president's gamble in quitting his alliance with the Huthis proved to be a fatal step.

A video circulating online purported to show Mr Saleh's body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters chanting "God is great" who then dump him into a pickup vehicle.

Residents in the capital of Sanaa mired in the humanitarian catastrophe said that they had witnessed the explosion at Saleh's home.

Top News First of Three Winter Supermoons Amazes ObserversNASA  Bill Ingalls via Getty Images
Top News First of Three Winter Supermoons Amazes ObserversNASA Bill Ingalls via Getty Images

In a televised address, Saleh called for new relations with the Saudi-led coalition, which he and the Houthis have been battling for nearly three years (since March 2015).

Gun battles between the Houthis and Saleh loyalists erupted in the capital Sanaa on December 3 as residents reported a "street war" between the former allies.

Hadi's forces, trying to take advantage of the collapse of the alliance, announced they would march on Sanaa.

In this January 3, 2017 file photo, tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels chant slogans during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces.

Saleh announced the end of his alliance with the Houthis on Saturday.

The Houthis had branded him a traitor for allegedly striking a deal with Saudi Arabia.

The stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced 3 million. Iran has denied the accusations. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.

"Ambulances and medical teams can't access injured, people can't buy food and other supplies", UNICEF's Rajat Madhok said on Twitter.

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