WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the killing of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh would, in the short term, likely worsen an already dire humanitarian situation in the country.
Saleh was killed in a roadside attack on Monday after switching sides in Yemen's civil war, abandoning his Iran-aligned Houthi allies in favor of a Saudi-led coalition.
Coupled with a Saudi-led blockade and internal clashes, the stalemate has contributed to a human catastrophe. Some 7 million people are on the brink of famine, while one million are suspected to be infected with cholera.
Mattis, speaking with reporters on a military aircraft en route to Washington after a brief trip to parts of the Middle East and South Asia, said it was too early to say what impact the killing would have on the war.