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Yemen's ex-president's house blown by Houthis

Yemen's ex-president's house blown by Houthis”

The UN Security Council called Tuesday on all sides in war-torn Yemen to "de-escalate" and return to talks as the conflict there took an ominous turn with the killing of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The fragile alliance pitched them against the Saudi-led coalition backing President Hadi.

Yemen's capital Sana'a was quiet yesterday after five days of fighting and 25 airstrikes overnight. Some 7 million people are on the brink of starvation, while one million are suspected to be infected with cholera.

The funeral of Saleh was expected later yesterday.

The death of Saleh, who once compared ruling Yemen to dancing on the heads of snakes, deepens the complexity of the multi-sided war.

Yemen is now plunged into uncertainty, and much depends on the future allegiance of his loyalists who were siding with the Houthis until Saturday.

The commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Yemen's enemies had been behind Saleh's armed uprising and praised what he called the Houthis' swift quashing of the "coup against the holy warriors", the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The Arabian peninsula's poorest country, Yemen is one of the most violent fronts in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have also backed opposing sides in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the Middle East.

But that alliance unravelled over the past week as the former leader reached out to the Saudi-led coalition that has waged an air campaign against the Huthis since March 2015. Ali Abdullah Saleh was President of Yemen from 1994 to 2012. His supporters may still be able to have some impact on the war.

His son 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 wage war on the Houthis. He is still loved in much of the north and many supporters will bear a grudge towards his killers.

"So this is where we've all got to roll up our sleeves".

Mattis, speaking with reporters on a military aircraft en route to Washington that his death could either push the conflict towards United Nations peace negotiations or make it an "even more vicious war". "The war will not end soon", said Aswan Abdu Khalid, an academic at the psychology department at the University of Aden.

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