Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Arab League's general secretariat condemned the Iran-aligned Houthi movement which killed Saleh as a "terrorist organisation" and demanded that the global community view it as such.
Saleh was assassinated in a shooting on Monday December 4 by the Houthi militia while he was heading to his home in Sanhan city, Sanaa. The Anadolu Agency quoted sources, as saying, that the mortar shell triggered the fire at the embassy premises.
The Houthis seized Sanaa in September 2014, forcing the government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to relocate to the southern city of Aden.
Sanders reiterated the Trump administration's general support for the Saudi-led coalition, and condemned Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for "aggression and blatant violations of worldwide law" in Yemen.
The assault and hostage-taking comes amid heightened tensions after forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh severed ties with the Houthis, sparking days of gun battles and artillery fire in the capital.
A military source said the Huthis stopped their four-car convoy about 40 kilometres south of Sanaa and shot dead Saleh and two other senior GPC officials.
The loyalists of Saleh last week had proposed for the talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis to end the three-year conflict in Yemen. The coalition threw its support behind Saleh when he turned on the rebels, and may now back his son.
The Arabian peninsula's poorest country, Yemen is one of the most violent fronts in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have also backed opposing sides in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the Middle East.
It also shatters hopes by Yemen's Saudi-backed government that Saleh's recent split with the Iranian-backed rebels, known as Houthis, would have weakened them and given the government and the Saudi coalition backing a chance for a turning point in the stalemated war that has brought humanitarian disaster.
Saleh's slaying likely gives the rebels the upper hand in the dayslong fighting for the country's capital, Sanaa.
The fighting has claimed more than 10,000 lives since then.
But over the past year, the Houthis appear to have undermined Saleh, wooing away some of his commanders.
Jamie McGoldrick of United Nations aid agency OCHA says 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. It is reported that only five people attended the funeral.