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Trump calls on Saudis to immediately end Yemen blockade

06 December 2017

The funeral of Saleh was expected later on Tuesday. He was killed in an attack on his convoy on Monday.

"All means should be tackled for the Yemeni people to get rid of this black nightmare", he said. Saudi Arabia, concerned about Iran's support of the Houthis in a neighboring country, formed a coalition and intervened in support of Hadi. "He got what he deserved", Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Yemen's capital Sanaa was quiet on Tuesday after five days of fighting that culminated in the death of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and U.N. and Red Cross flights have landed at the airport, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The intervention by Saleh's son Ahmed Ali, a former commander of the elite Republican Guard who lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates and was once seen as a successor to his father, has provided the anti-Houthi movement with a potential figurehead.

The Houthi-controlled interior ministry distributed a video of dozens of seated barefoot men it said were pro-Saleh fighters detained in one of its party headquarters.

The end of the alliance between the Houthis and Saleh might have tilted the three-year civil war in favor of Yemen's internationally recognized government and the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition threw its support behind Saleh when he turned on the rebels, and may now back his son.

The UN secretary-general's special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, called on all parties to show restraint.

Much is likely to depend on the future allegiances of Saleh loyalists who previously helped the Houthi group, which hails from the Zaidi branch of Shi'ite Islam that ruled a thousand-year kingdom in northern Yemen until 1962. He later allied with the Houthi rebels hoping to exploit their strength to return to power.

Yemen's stalemated war has killed over 10,000 civilians and displaced 3 million.

Saleh was assassinated in a shooting on Monday December 4 by the Houthi militia while he was heading to his home in Sanhan city, Sanaa. The coalition has been striking Houthi positions, hoping that Saleh's loyalists might allow forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to return to the capital.

Saleh had joined forces with the Houthis in 2014 when they took control of large parts of the country, including the capital. That seems to have pushed Saleh into flirting with the coalition, ultimately leading to the breakdown of the rebel alliance.

Trump calls on Saudis to immediately end Yemen blockade