Iran-allied Houthi forces claimed to have killed Yemen's powerful ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday, while Saudi-led fighter jets pounded areas of the country's capital in the intensifying and bloody battle for control of the city.
"I appeal to the leader Saleh to show more wisdom and maturity. and not to heed incitement calls", Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said in a speech on the group's Al-Masirah TV, adding that his group was ready to sit down for arbitration and abide by any ruling.
Images circulating on social media showed Saleh's body cradled in a floral blanket, with what appeared to be a large head wound.
Al Arabiya quoted a source in Saleh's GPC party as saying he was killed by a sniper. The Houthis' Interior Ministry said Saleh was killed by rebels from the Shiite group.
BBC World Service journalist Mai Noman said: "Saleh's death: shocking not just bec he ruled #Yemen for over 30yrs, he's been the key player in every major event even after being ousted". The Houthis dominate the northern part of the city, while Saleh's forces hold the southern part, with much of the current fighting concentrated around the Political District, home to ministries and foreign embassies.
He says that the Yemeni people in Sana'a and in all the provinces have carried out an uprising against the aggression (of the Houthis) toward the nation in the three years after (President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi) Hadi fled the country, during which time salaries have not been paid, food, water and medicine have become scarce, insecurity has reigned, and children have been drafted to fight.
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed
Saudi-led air strikes are said to have targeted Houthi rebel positions, lending support to loyalists of the former president.
Fahim reported from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh waves to supporters in Sanaa, Yemen, before his ouster in 2011.
Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad attempted to mediate to end the tension between the two conflicting forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthis in Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Huthis, which Tehran strongly denies.
The fighting has killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and raised concern of further casualties among civilians.