Yemen’s chaos deepens after rebels killed ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh
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Yemen’s chaos deepens after rebels killed ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh

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Sanaa: Yemen's exiled president ordered troops to advance on Sanaa hours after his predecessor was killed by Huthi rebels, officials said, as heavy fighting continued in the capital.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi called on Yemenis to unite against the Iran-backed insurgents who shot Ali Abdullah Saleh dead as he fled the city following the collapse of their alliance.

"Let's join hands to end the control of these... criminal gangs and... open a new chapter to rid our beloved Yemen of this nightmare," Hadi, leader of the internationally recognised government, said in a televised address late on Monday from Saudi Arabia, where he lives in exile.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for three decades, had joined forces with the Shiite Huthi rebels in 2014 when they took control of large parts of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

But that alliance unravelled over the past week, with dozens reported dead in heavy clashes as the former leader reached out to the Saudi-led coalition that has waged devastating air strikes against the Huthis since September 2015.

Yemen's war has left thousands dead, led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and deepened tensions between Middle East rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hadi has ordered Vice-President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar to "activate military units and advance towards the capital," a presidency official said on condition of anonymity.

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