Houthi fighters kill Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Huthi rebel fighters walk in the Yemeni capital Sanaa

Abdul-Malik Badreddin Houthi, the leader of Yemen's Houthi rebels has hailed the day of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's death as "extraordinary and historic", saying as quoted by a rebel-controlled TV channel, "I congratulate all the sons of our dear nation..."

"Our appeals to the leader of the conference were met with a negative attitude", Houthi said.

The 75-year-old was killed outside the capital Sanaa, along with the assistant secretary-general of his General People's Congress party (GPC), party officials confirmed.

The exact circumstances of his death could not be immediately confirmed.

Saleh's rule over Yemen extended for more than three decades.

Unverified footage circulated showing his bloodied body, just days after he tore up his alliance with the Houthis following almost three years in which they had jointly battled the Saudi-led coalition.

Fighting first broke out after the Houthis seized Sanaa in September 2014 and later advanced south, forcing the internationally recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to relocate to the southern city of Aden. Though he was deposed in 2012, he remained a key factor in the country's ongoing resistance to the Saudi-led, USA and British-backed war against the country, allying his forces with Houthi rebels.

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Earlier in the day, Sanaa residents had told The National that the Houthis were besieging Saleh's palace, as well as residences belonging to his relatives and prominent supporters. Throughout the Yemeni Civil War he had allied with the Houthi rebels, who had been fighting against the Saudi-backed forces of Hadi ousted in 2015.

The former president of Yemen and a main player in its long-running civil war has been killed after an enemy faction attacked his house, according to reports.

A mortar shell also struck the Sana'a International Airport today amid increasing clashes between the Houthis and Saleh loyalists.

Arab media claimed Iranian drones detected the former president's motorcade leaving Sanaa and alerted the Houthis, who said Saleh was fleeing to territory under control of the Saudi-led coalition.

Residents in the capital of Sanaa mired in the humanitarian catastrophe said that they had witnessed the explosion at Saleh's home. The Houthis appeared to be targeting the homes of Saleh's family, political allies and commanders in this most recent round of fighting.

Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them.

However their alliance has been marked with tensions with news this weekend that Saleh was happy to begin talks with Saudi Arabia to end the conflict in the country which has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 11 per cent of the country's population.

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