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Yemen's Houthi rebels, Saleh's one-time allies who turned on him after he reached out to their enemy, Saudi Arabia, said they had ambushed and killed him in a grenade assault on his motorcade, apparently as he was trying to flee to an area outside Sanaa. The Huthi-controlled interior ministry announced Saleh's death on the rebels' Al-Masirah television station.

Sources in Mr Saleh's party confirmed he died in an attack on his convoy.

Saleh was killed by Houthis in a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and shooting attack on his vehicle at a checkpoint outside Sana'a, according to Al Jazeera.

"The problem is not with the General People's Congress as a party or with its members".

A statement declared "end of the crisis of militias", referring to Saleh's armed supporters, and "the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters". Other accounts said Saleh had been shot. He is reported to have been killed by Houthi rebels on Monday in an attack south of the capital, Sanaa, as he tried to abandon them in favor of a Saudi-led coalition.

Earlier on Monday, a Sanaa-based activist said that the Houthis had gained control of most of Sanaa from Saleh's forces.

Albukhaiti said that fighters had secured key areas south of the capital, including the "very strategic" al-Mesbahi residential area, which is approximately 200 metres from Saleh's home.

Houthi militants react as they ride on a truck after Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed, in Sanaa, Yemen December 4, 2017.

The Houthis, who are believed to be backed by Iran, stormed Sanaa in September 2014. Saleh and the Houthis conducted a multi-year insurgency against the internationally-recognized government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The fresh violence has increased fears for civilian victims of Yemen's war, which has claimed more than 8,750 lives since the Saudi-led coalition intervened. His brief turn against the Houthis and realignment with the Saudi-backed central government seemed to be part of a strategy by Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the leaders of the United Arab Emirates to turn the tide of the war and isolate the rebels.

Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was forced to resign following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

"You can not say this is the end of his political movement, but it's a very big blow", he said. He did not mention Mr Saleh's death.

The tactical alliance between Saleh and the Houthis had often appeared fragile, with both groups suspicious of each other's ultimate motives and sharing little ideological ground. His death puts the exclamation point on the end of an era in Yemen that had, for all intents and purposes, already come to a close. "Before there were two leaderships, two different agendas, two different ways how to win the war".