The powerful exiled son of Yemen’s slain ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed on Tuesday to lead a campaign against the Houthi movement that killed his father after he switched sides in the civil war.
The intervention by Ahmed Ali Saleh, a former leader of the elite Republican Guard once seen as a likely successor to his father, gives the anti-Houthi movement in Sanaa a potential figurehead, after a week of fighting that saw the Houthis rout Saleh’s supporters in the capital.
In a statement sent to Reuters by an aide, his son said his father was killed at “the hands of the enemies of God and the country”. Ahmed Ali said he would “confront the enemies of the homeland and humanity, who are trying to obliterate its identity and its gains and to humiliate Yemen and Yemenis”.
In an earlier statement carried by Saudi state media, Ahmed Ali said he would lead “the battle until the last Houthi is thrown out of Yemen ... the blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran.”
Saleh had helped the Houthis win control of much of the country’s north including Sanaa, and his decision to switch allegiances and abandon the Houthis in the past week was the most dramatic change on the battlefield in years. But the Houthis swiftly crushed a pro-Saleh uprising in the capital and shot him dead in an attack on his convoy.
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