The leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels has praised the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s overthrown president, as a victory against a Saudi-led military coalition that Yemen has been battling.

Saleh’s party has confirmed reports that he was killed in a roadside ambush on Monday outside the capital, Sanaa, after switching sides in the civil war, abandoning his Iran-aligned Houthi allies in favour of the Saudi-led coalition.

In a lengthy televised speech aired on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network, Abdul Malik al-Houthi said his fighters killed Saleh for his “treason” and congratulated Yemenis “on this historic, exceptional and great day in which the conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed, this black day for the forces of the aggression”.

He said the uprising of Saleh’s loyalists against the Houthi group was the greatest threat the Arabian Peninsula country had faced, but that it was defeated in three days.

Without mentioning Saleh by name, Houthi said that he knew about Saleh’s communication with the coalition and his efforts to turn against the Houthi group.

Houthi also said he had sent several warnings to Saleh.

“We have notified the leader of the traitor and criminal militias to retract, be wise, to stop his militias from continuing committing crimes,” he said.

“Today is the day of the fall of the conspiracy of betrayal and treason. It’s a dark day for the forces of the coalition.”

Houthi also praised a missile launch announced by the group towards the UAE this week as a message against its enemies, advising against foreign investment in the UAE and Saudi Arabia as their campaign in Yemen continues.

The Houthi rebels had similarly fired a missile towards Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh last month, which official media said had been intercepted by the kingdom’s air defence. – Read more Al Jazeera
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