Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United Nations calls for immediate halt to fighting in Yemen

United Nations calls for immediate halt to fighting in Yemen

Unable to defeat the loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, aided by Houthi rebels the Saudis claim are backed by Iran, the coalition has imposed a blockade on Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition warned the city's residents to evacuate rebel-controlled areas, as worldwide aid groups warned Monday they were losing the ability to reach civilians in Sanaa. The channel had earlier carried a broadcast in which the Houthi's leader, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, said his forces had killed Saleh for "treason".

Saleh had joined forces with the Houthis in 2014 when they took control of large parts of the country, including the capital.

Iran, which supports the Houthis but denies arming them, welcomed Saleh's killing, saying it had put an end to a Saudi conspiracy.

There was no independent confirmation, but pictures circulated on social media appeared to show Mr Saleh's body.

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The group would first start with restoring legitimate authority in Yemen and to empower the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed called the killing of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and others "an adverse development" that will "constitute a considerable change to the political dynamics in Yemen".

Saleh, who ruled in Sana'a from 1978-2012, had a strong following in Yemen, including army officers and armed tribal leaders who once served under him.

Saleh's former Houthi Shiite allies claim he was killed for "treason" for reportedly seeking to switch alliance to the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Houthis for almost three years. Now his exiled son Ali Ahmed Saleh has vowed to lead anti-Houthi Movement and it is to be seen to what extent he succeeds in winning back the family's influence in shaping the destiny of the country.

Following Saleh's death, the Saudi-led coalition was reported to have blitzed Sanaa with an intensified campaign of airstrikes.

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The 75-year-old had survived a civil war, rebellion in the north, an Al-Qaeda insurgency in the south and a June 2011 bomb attack on his palace that wounded him badly.

The bloody conflict has left impoverished Yemen as the world's leading humanitarian disasters with millions of people facing starvation.

In other areas like Fag Attan, Saleh's forces are still surrounded by Houthis. They briefly lost control of much of the city in the recent fighting with Saleh supporters before making a dramatic comeback.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday, more than 230 people have been killed and around 400 injured in the Yemen war since the beginning of this month.

Worldwide aid groups warned today they were losing the ability to reach civilians in Sanaa.

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