Yemen ex-president Abdullah Saleh killed

Saleh's son calls for revenge Saudi media

Yemen's exiled president ordered troops to advance on Sanaa hours after his predecessor was killed by Huthi rebels, officials said, as heavy fighting continued in the capital.

Fighting has intensified since former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, an erstwhile Houthi ally who had turned on the group, was killed in an attack on his convoy last week. But that alliance unravelled over the past week as the former leader reached out to the Saudi-led coalition that has waged an air campaign against the Houthis since March 2015.

Saleh was killed Monday by his former Houthi allies after moving to switch allegiances in the bloody conflict. The United Nations has described the Yemen conflict as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades, allied with Houthis after an Arab Spring uprising forced him to resign in 2012.

Yemen's civil war has emerged as one of the main battlegrounds in the Saudi-Iranian rivalry for regional influence.

Yemen's pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station said the coalition bombed Saleh's residence and other houses of his family members.

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

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A military source said the Huthis stopped their four-car convoy about 40 kilometres south of Sanaa and shot dead Saleh and two other senior GPC officials.

He stressed that the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, have no enmity toward Saleh's party, the General People's Congress, which was Yemen's ruling party under Saleh but is now divided.

Saudi Arabia, accusing Iran of backing the rebels, intervened in the Yemen war on behalf of the government the following year.

However, in late November, the tensions between the former allies escalated and resulted in clashes that have already claimed lives of hundreds of people, including the ex-president himself.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the armed Houthi movement in Yemen's civil war started a blockade of ports a month ago after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired toward its capital Riyadh from Yemen.

In a televised speech on Monday, Huthi made no mention of Saleh's death but expressed his satisfaction at the day's events.

Houthi supporters massed in their thousands near the capital's worldwide airport, shouting "Sanaa is free and the state still stands!" and "Yemenis are one!" as rebel chiefs struck a conciliatory tone, declaring they were "ensuring the safety" of members of the GPC - a statement that stood in sharp contrast with the GPC's claims of a Houthi charge against them.

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