Arab League says death of Saleh risks ‘explosion’ in Yemen: MENA

Cairo   –     The Arab League on Tuesday condemned the killing of Yemeni ex-president Ali Saleh saying his death threatened to cause an “explosion” in the Gulf country’s security situation, Egypt’s MENA state news agency reported.

The Arab League’s general secretariat also condemned the Houthi movement which killed Saleh as a “terrorist organization”, demanding that the international community view it as such.

“All means must be used to rid the Yemeni people of this nightmare,” it said, referring to the Houthis.

Earlier, the son of Saleh, called for revenge against the Iran-aligned group on Tuesday,

Saudi-owned al-Ekbariya TV quoted him as saying.

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the report.

“I will lead the battle until the last Houthi is thrown out of Yemen … the blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran,” Ahmed Saleh was quoted as saying.

He called for his father’s backers to “take back Yemen from the Iranian Houthi militias”.

The veteran former leader was killed in a shooting attack on Monday after switching sides, abandoning his Houthi allies in favour of a Saudi-led alliance.

Saleh’s death deepens the complexity of the multi-sided war.

Much depends on the future allegiances of his loyalists.

The Saudi-led coalition was counting on him to give them an edge in the conflict.

Saleh had a wide following in Yemen, including army officers and armed tribal leaders who once served under him, and his supporters may still be able to have some impact on the war.

Ahmed Ali has lived under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates, where he once served as ambassador before it joined ally Saudi Arabia to make war on the Houthis, who until this week had ruled much of Yemen together with Saleh.

Political sources say he had been held incommunicado and under guard at a villa in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

His reported first public statement may indicate that his former enemies in the coalition are unleashing him against the Houthis.

The UAE is a key member of the mostly Gulf Arab alliance that sees the Houthis as a proxy of their arch-enemy

Iran but had struggled to make gains against the Houthi-Saleh alliance despite thousands of air strikes backed

by U.S. and Western arms and intelligence.

Ahmed Ali, the powerful former military commander of Yemen’s elite Republican Guards, appeared to have been

groomed to succeed his father, and he may be the family’s last chance to win back influence.

The whereabouts of Saleh’s other key relatives, who had led six days of street battles against the Houthis in

the capital Sanaa before their rout on Monday, were unknown.

Residents reported that fighting had subsided but that Saudi-led coalition jets pounded several targets,

including the downtown presidential palace where a governing body led by Houthi-Saleh politicians had regularly

convened.

The Houthi leader, Abdul Al-Houthi, hailed Saleh’s death in a speech on Monday as a victory against a treasonous

conspiracy by Yemen’s Saudi enemies and called for a mass rally on Tuesday at a parade ground near the site of

the air strikes.

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