The assassination of Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh by Houthi rebels as their alliance crumbled amid street clashes in the capital Sanaa has thrown the nearly three-year civil war into unpredictable chaos.
Heavy airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition pounded Yemen's capital overnight, targeting Sanaa's densely-populated neighbourhoods in apparent retaliation for the killing of the former Yemeni president by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, residents said.
The body of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which had appeared in a video on Monday by the militias with a gaping head wound, was taken to the city's military rebel-controlled hospital but it was not immediately clear if the rebels would allow Saleh's family to hold a funeral later in the day.
Sanaa saw no fresh fighting on Tuesday.
Jamie McGoldrick of UN aid agency OCHA said on Tuesday civilians in Sanaa are "emerging from their houses after five days, being locked down, basically prisoners," to seek safety, medical care, fresh water and other survival needs.
He says that "at the same time, people are bracing themselves for more."
At least 234 people have been killed in Sanaa over the past four days in clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Saleh, an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) official said.
The ICRC also recorded more than 400 injuries during the clashes, which first erupted in Sanaa over the weekend between the Houthis and pro-Saleh forces, Adnan Hazam, the ICRC’s spokesman in Yemen said.
"Cautious calm now prevails in parts of the capital that saw violent confrontations in recent days," he added.
TRT World's Arabella Munroe reports.
Yemen leader orders advance on Sanaa
Yemen's exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar to "activate military units and advance towards the capital," a presidency official speaking on condition of anonymity, told the media.
Military and government sources said the army would advance on Sanaa from the east and northeast, with at least seven battalions ordered to move forward.
TRT World's Abubakr al Shamahi reports from the city of Aden in the south of Yemen.
A Yemen free of Iran-backed militias
Saudi Arabia called for a Yemen free of "militias supported by Iran," in its first official statement since rebels killed Saleh.
"The Saudi Arabian cabinet expresses the hope that the uprising of the Yemeni people against the sectarian terrorist Huthi militias supported by Iran will free Yemen of abuse, death threats and the appropriation of public and private property," it said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency.
Tehran says aggressors to pay
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Yemenis would make those attacking their country regret their actions as a Saudi-led coalition pounded the rebel-held capital with heavy air strikes.
"The people of Yemen will make their aggressors regret their actions," Rouhani said in a televised broadcast.
Call for revenge
The son of Saleh, Ahmed Ali Saleh has called for a revenge against the Iran-aligned group on Tuesday, Saudi-owned Al Ekbariya TV quoted him as saying.
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the report.
"I will lead the battle until the last Houthi is thrown out of Yemen, the blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran," Ahmed Ali Saleh was quoted as saying.
He called for his father's backers to "take back Yemen from the Iranian Houthi militias."
A grisly end
Saleh was killed after switching sides, abandoning his Houthi allies in favour of a Saudi-led alliance.
Saleh, who ruled Yemen for three decades, had joined forces with the Shia Houthi rebels in 2014 when they took control of large parts of the country, including the capital.
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 Houthis since September 2015.
Yemeni territory is split between the forces and government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the south, backed by Saudi Arabia and recognised by the international community, the northern Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Saleh.
Since 2014, Sanaa has been ruled under an agreement between Saleh and the Houthis, who drove the Hadi government out of the capital, set up their own government and for two years together fought the Saudi-led coalition.