A girl walks near a house destroyed in past airstrikes carried out by the war-planes Saudi-led coalitions in Sanaa, Yemen, August 11, 2017.(Xinhua Photo)
SANAA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Shiite Houthi fighters on Sunday torn apart images of their allied party's leader ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh that were erected on massive billboards in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, said eyewitnesses.
The move came hours after Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi launched a verbal attack in a broadcasted speech against Saleh and his party, accusing them of committing a national betrayal through working secretly with their enemy, a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
This is a very dangerous signal of internal split between the strongest allies, Houthis and Saleh, which is clearly threatening an eruption of a new civil war in the already war-stricken Yemen.
The huge images of Saleh were erected a day earlier across the major streets of Sanaa by his party in preparation to celebrate the 35th anniversary of establishing the General People's Congress (GPC) on Aug. 24.
Saleh's images were distorted badly as the Houthis packed the streets with their new security checkpoints and patrol military vehicles in a stark defiance to Saleh and his party.
There were no immediate reaction yet from the party of the strong man, whose GPC party is considered the largest political party representing the majority of Yemen's 26 million population according to the latest elections' state statistics.
"The yesterday allies, today enemies, have reached a point of no return," said political analyst and regular columnist Areef al-Doush.
Houthis allied with Saleh before the beginning of the war launched against them by their both foes of the internationally-recognized government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Arab military coalition led by Hadi's ally, Saudi Arabia.
On Saturday night, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi made an unprecedented speech, accusing Saleh and his party of letting down the internal front line and retreating their military loyalists from anti-coalition battle fronts.
"Saleh and his GPC party have been ordering their military loyalists to retreat from the battle fronts and working with the enemy (the Saudi-led coalition)," Houthi leader Abdel-Malek said in his speech that aired through the group media.
"They (Saleh and his party) serve the enemy to implement its goals and help the enemy to carry out attacks and advances," al-Houthi said, accusing Saleh and his party of the greatest national betrayal.
Houthi leader also strongly criticized Saleh for massing crowds for Aug. 24 GPC celebration, saying "We have made it clear that the period is not an election stage to mass the large crowds, but the period is a war and those efforts must be directed to reinforce the battle fronts."
Al-Houthi also blamed Saleh and his party for failure in facing the coalition forces, saying "Saleh is the main cause of the failure in the front lines and he along with his party were behind the severe deterioration of the humanitarian situation to the lowest level."
"We have been stabbed in the back while we at the same time went with all sincerity to the front lines to fight the aggression," al-Houthi said in reference to Saleh.
"He went with us (to the front lines) with only his finger while he kept his legs there in the back," al-Houthi said, pointing to Saleh's role.
Yemen's internationally-backed government, allied with the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for more than two years been battling Shiite Houthi rebels and their allied party of former President Saleh over control of the country.
The coalition began a military air campaign in March 2015 to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate exiled President Hadi to the power.
The coalition also imposed air and sea blockade to prevent weapons from reaching Houthis, who had occupied the capital Sanaa militarily and seized most of the northern Yemeni provinces since late of 2014.
More than 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the war that also displaced around 3 million, according to the UN agencies.
The impoverished Arab country is also suffering the world's largest cholera epidemic since April, with about 5,000 cases reported every day.