Sana’a: Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been shot dead by Houthi rebels after he showed willingness to renew cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Thousands of Saleh’s supporters joined the Hadi government after Houthi rebels brought about the killing of Saleh. The Saleh supporters want the Saudi-backed Hadi government to attack the Houthi rebels to avenge the killing of Saleh. This has led to the possibility of a big conflict flaring up in Yemen.
There has been a civil war in Yemen for the past two years. Yemen’s former president Saleh had rebelled against the recognised Hadi government in this civil war. Saleh was helped by the Yemeni Houthi rebels. Houthi is a pro-Iran armed rebel group in Yemen. Last year, this group had ousted president ‘Abdrabbou Mansour Hadi’ from power. President Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia and got political asylum there.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have carried out aerial attacks on Houthi rebels for the past one year. Saudi has claimed that these attacks have caused a lot of damage to Houthi rebels. But Yemen’s capital Sana’a and other important places are still under Houthi’s control. Of these, there was a severe disagreement over the capital Sana’a between Saleh and the Houthi rebels. Also, there have been clashes in the capital between the supporters of Saleh and Houthis in the past few days.
Against this background, Saleh had expressed his willingness to join the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels. Saleh had also put forth a proposal to Saudi and Saudi had accepted this proposal. Saleh was also expected to visit Saudi Arabia for this. Before that could happen the Houthi rebels launched a rocket attack on Saleh’s convoy of cars and shot him dead. Nearly 200 of Saleh’s supporters were also killed in this attack.
Meanwhile, Saleh’s son has demanded strict action against the Houthi rebels and president Hadi has ordered his army to attack Sana’a. At the same time reports of Saudi’s airstrikes on the capital Sana’a are also emerging.