Ali Abdullah Saleh, the deposed president of Yemen who ruled for more than three decades, has died in the latest outbreak of violence in the country's civil war, members of Saleh's political party said Monday.
"The Interior Ministry announces the end of the crisis of militias and the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters", an anchor said on the rebels' Al-Masirah television, referring to armed supporters of Saleh.
A video circulating online on Monday purported to show Saleh's body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters chanting "God is great" who then dump him into a pick-up truck.
An urgent meeting will be held soon in Iran between Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Khalid al-Attiyah, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Mohammad Ali Jafari, and representatives of Hezbollah and Houthi rebels, according to informed sources.More news: Ivanka to lead American team for business summit in India
BBC World Service journalist Mai Noman said: "Saleh's death: shocking not just bec he ruled #Yemen for over 30yrs, he's been the key player in every major event even after being ousted".
But in recent months, the alliance frayed amid Houthi suspicions Saleh was leaning toward the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi.
The Saudi-led coalition started attacking in Yemen in 2015 in a bid to restore the official government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.
The former Yemeni president's break with the Houthis came after five days of bitter clashes around the capital, Sana'a, between his supporters and those of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.More news: HTC U11 starts getting Oreo update in the US
Saleh has accused the Huthis of seeking to monopolise power and the rebels have accused the strongman of treason over his suspected contacts with Saudi Arabia.
But even without Mr Saleh's loyalists, the rebels remain a powerful force.
Yemen has been decimated by almost three years of fighting and a Saudi-led bombing campaign backed by the United States. His party's alliance with the Houthis disintegrated and the two sides fought bloody clashes in Sanaa, the capital, that killed dozens of people.
"Everyone who was here, nearly 15 people died".More news: First (and last) supermoon of 2017 is coming