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Iran-backed Houthi rebels have arrived at the decision to arrest former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and transfer him to Saada province, a stronghold of the Houthis, according to a report from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya news network on Monday.
A Yemeni source announced that the Houthis have decided to end their shaky alliance with the General People’s Congress party headed by Saleh, who they intend to take into custody.
However, sources in Sanaa told Ahram Online that there were no confirmed reports of Saleh having been arrested, as of early Monday afternoon.
Reports from Sanaa indicated the withdrawal of Houthi forces from around Saleh’s headquarters in Sanaa, where he has been kept under effective house arrest for several days.
Violence erupted late on Saturday between Houthi militiamen and Saleh loyalists in the capital city, after Houthi forces attempted to place Saleh under house arrest.
The fighting resulted in the deaths of eight of Saleh’s loyalists, including Colonel Khaled Al-Radi, a senior member of Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC). Two members of the Houthi forces were also killed, according to news reports.
The tensions later escalated as Houthi fighters set up a security checkpoint near the home of Saleh’s son, Salah, and his media office in Hadda district in southern Sanaa, where Radi was killed.
Attempts had been made to contain the rift within the alliance, but they finally failed last week.