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Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed

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Smoke rises during the battle between former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's supporters and the Houthi fighters in Sanaa Yemen

Activists also published pictures and a video showing Saleh's body as gunmen put it behind a wheel amid cheers, in a scene reminiscent of the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

Media Advisor to the Yemeni Supreme Political Council, Ahmed al-Habishi, announced Monday that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been killed in the area controlled by UAE air force.

We hope Saleh's supporters stop fighting. Saleh's eyes appear wide open, the back of his head badly injured, and his shirt blood stained under a dark suit.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press.

Several Houthi military officials said Mr Saleh was killed as he headed along with top party leaders from Sanaa to his hometown of Sanhan, nearby.

"Saleh's actions in Yemen, in working with his former opponents the Houthis, were complicating numerous efforts at resolving the conflict", Harrison Akins, a researcher with the Howard Baker Center, told Newsweek. Arab media is reporting that the former president's supporters have gained control of key government installations in the capital, including the defense ministry, the interior ministry and Sana'a Airport.

He had jointly ruled the Yemeni capital with the Iran-aligned rebels for three years. It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the video, which was circulating widely.

"In addition, the fault lines of the conflict pre-date Saleh's involvement with the Houthis and numerous foreign powers involved in the Yemeni conflict are driven by their own strategic interests in the region", he added.

In late 2014, Houthis backed by Saleh loyalists captured the capital, prompting Yemen's internationally recognized government led by Hadi to flee to Aden.

Saleh, 75, ruled Yemen for more than three decades until his ouster under popular pressure in 2012.

The apparent shift in position came as Saleh's forces battled Houthi fighters in Hadda, a district in southern Sanaa where members of Saleh's family, including his nephew Tareq, live.

The head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition.

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