Yemen's rebel-controlled interior ministry yesterday announced the "killing" of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, as a video emerged showing what appeared to be Saleh's corpse.
"The interior ministry announces the end of the crisis of militias and the killing of their leader and a number of his criminal supporters," an anchor said on the rebels' official Al-Masirah television, referring to armed supporters of Saleh.
Saleh on Saturday announced the end of his alliance with the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, with whom he has jointly ruled the capital for three years.
The statement came shortly after a video began to circulate on social media showing what appeared to be a dead Saleh, wrapped in a floral-print blanket with a severe head injury.
Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television quoted sources in former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party as confirming he had been killed, reported Reuters.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi insurgents warned civilians yesterday to evacuate rebel-held areas of the capital Sanaa, after the government ordered an advance to retake the city.
"The coalition urges civilians to evacuate areas near positions held by the Huthis," read a statement published by Saudi Arabia's state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV.
"We ask civilians to remain at least 500 metres away from Huthi military vehicles and gatherings."
Earlier, Yemen's president has ordered his forces to retake control of Sanaa, a presidential source said yesterday, after the rebel alliance that forced his government from the capital collapsed amid heavy fighting.
Witnesses reported fresh clashes between forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Iran-backed Shia Huthi rebels, who together seized control of Sanaa from the internationally recognised government three years ago.
Their alliance has unravelled over the last week, with fierce battles breaking out across the capital, accusations of betrayal and Saleh reaching out to the Saudi-led coalition battling the insurgents.
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government operates from the southern city of Aden, moved to take advantage of the chaos yesterday.
"The president has ordered Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who is in Marib (east of Sanaa), to activate military units and advance towards the capital," an official in the presidency told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.