Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has reportedly been killed in a bomb blast that decimated his home in the country's conflict-torn capital Sana'a. Though there is no confirmation of his death as yet, multiple reports and social media posts from the region hint that he was killed in the attack. However, Saleh's party has rejected the news about his death and said he is safe amid the rumours.
The Reuters news agency, citing residents in central Sana'a, said Saleh's whereabouts are still unknown but that rumours have begun to swirl that he is dead. Reports from Iranian media also said Saleh was killed when he was trying to flee the capital.
Saleh's reported death comes just hours after he formally broke the alliance with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, his former allies in the lengthy war against the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the nation.
"Zero hour is coming to the battlefield in Sana'a... The country had to be saved from the madness of the Houthi group," Saleh said in a statement released early on Monday, 4 December. His decision to move away from the Houthi rebels is seen as a pivotal point in the three-year-long conflict in Yemen and was expected to play a role in easing the tensions.
The Yemeni capital has been witnessing a surge in urban violence in the past week, with Saudi-led forces pounding targets in the city.
Saleh, who had been in power for nearly 30 years and somehow managed to survive the 'Arab Spring', was forced to cede the presidency to his deputy in 2012. However, he still remained active in the Yemeni political circles, orchestrating moves behind the scenes.
Yemen has been in a state of flux since Saleh's departure in 2012.