A video by Yemen’s Al Houthi militants showed the slain body of the country’s former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. Officials from various sides, including Saleh’s party, have confirmed that the video shows the former powerful president, and that Saleh was assassinated by Al Houthis.
The video, apparently shot by one of the attackers, showed an Al Houthi crowd picking up Saleh’s dead body, wrapped in a blanket, off the ground and lifting it onto a pickup truck. Saleh’s eyes appear wide open, the back of his head badly injured, and his shirt blood stained under a dark suit. The footage show the crowd shouting “Praise God!” and “Hey Ali Affash!”, another last name for Saleh.
Mahmoud Azani, a UK-based Yemeni politician and academic, told Gulf News he expected the war to be “more violent in the future. First, Saleh’s killing will lead to a major shift in the existing alliances. He had followers and supporters among the Yemeni people, and there will be a reaction to his [gruesome] killing.”
Al Houthis, Azani said, “had prepared for this for a long time, and were waiting for the right moment to carry it out”.
Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was forced to resign following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011. He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes. In 2014, his forces allied with Al Houthi militia, despite the fact that as president he had gone to war with them on more than one occasion.
The alliance between Al Houthis and Saleh splintered last week, setting off heavy clashes between Al Houthis and Saleh’s forces. On Saturday, Saleh reached out to the Saudi-led coalition battling Al Houthis, offering to “turn the page”. Al Houthi militants accused him of staging a “coup against our alliance”.
On Monday, Yemen’s legitimate President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered his forces to retake control of Sana’a