Ousted Yemen President Killed by Iranian-Backed Houthis

A Houthi fighter walks outside the house of Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh after Saleh was killed in Sanaa Yemen

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday he was ready for a "new page" in relations with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country.

Saleh was killed by Houthis in a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and shooting attack on his auto at a checkpoint outside Sana'a, according to Al Jazeera.

The ministry also said its forces had "taken over all the positions and strongholds of the treacherous militia in the capital, Sanna, and the surrounding areas, as well as other provinces in order to impose security".

Faris Al-Beel, a Yemeni political analyst, also said that, after Saleh's death, Iran has now become the main player in Yemen.

Saleh was killed two days after he publicly broke off ties with the Houthis, amid intense street battles between the rival factions that led to the killing of dozens of people.

The rebel alliance splintered last week, setting off heavy clashes between the Houthis and Saleh's forces. But Iran and the Houthis have denied the claims.

Saleh ruled Yemen for 33 years until protests that erupted during the Arab Spring in 2011 forced him to relinquish power.

"He was martyred in the defence of the republic", said Faiqa al-Sayyid, a GPC leader. Jamie McGoldrick, Yemen's Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator for the United Nations, warned that the death of Mr. Saleh would only lead to "more tragedy" in the country. They seized control of the city and eventually led President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who succeeded Saleh in 2012, to flee to Saudi Arabia.

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But the head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition.

The whereabouts of Saleh's son, and political heir, Tareq, who was leading the fight against the Houthis in the capital at the head of the Presidential Guard regiment remain unclear.

"You can not say this is the end of his political movement, but it's a very big blow", he said.

The future Saudi-Iran conflict in Yemen could be more complicated as both sides are expected to try to attract and lure tribes to fight on behalf of them.

Any hope of the coalition that Mr Saleh could have been bought off to help turn the tables against the Houthis after a protracted stalemate, in which a Saudi-led blockade and internal fighting has exposed millions to hunger and epidemic, has been dashed.

"This will not bring Yemen any closer to an end in fighting", said al-Masmari.

Former U.S. Diplomat David Mack, now with the Middle East Institute, told VOA Saleh was "one of the smartest political operatives in the Arab world", and the former president believed he had been unjustly driven from office by countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in accord with the United States. "Before there were two leaderships, two different agendas, two different ways how to win the war".

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