The former president of Yemen and a main player in its long-running civil war has been killed after an enemy faction attacked his house, according to reports.
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 his predecessor three years later.
Those Houthi rebels’ links to Iran led to a persistent air campaign from Yemen’s neighbor Saudi Arabia, further plunging the country into violence and competing claims for the right to govern.
Houthis have recently turned on Saleh, however, and said Monday that they had killed their former ally.
Residents in the capital of Sanaa mired in the humanitarian catastrophe said that they had witnessed the explosion at Saleh’s home.
Circumstances for the alleged death of Saleh, who was the leader of Yemen and its precursor Yemen Arab Republic for decades and cooperated with the U.S., were not immediately clear.
Multiple images and videos of what appeared to be Saleh’s dead body were posted to social media sites, but could not be immediately confirmed.
Houthi fighters ride on the back of a truck during clashes with forces loyal to Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
One shows a group of fighters carrying the body in a sheet proclaiming “God is Great.”
Some observers compared the violent end for a longtime Middle East strongman to the death of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Reports in both Iranian and Saudi media also claimed that the leader had been killed.
The Saudis, who have been criticized for exacerbating the crisis and stopping humanitarian aid to citizens, had recently been bombing Houthi positions in support of Saleh.
At least 10,000 people have been killed in the civil war, which is viewed as a proxy struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
With News Wire Services