Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saudi Arabia hosts injured Yemeni officials

Clashes between tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, and Yemeni security forces left buildings ablaze in Sana'a on May 3, 2011 (file photo).

Source: Press TV

Several top Yemeni officials injured in an attack on the presidential palace on Friday have been flown to neighboring Saudi Arabia for treatment.

A medical source told Reuters on Saturday that the speakers of both houses of parliament, the deputy prime minister and other officials have been evacuated from the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, to neighboring Saudi Arabia.

No other details on the conditions of the officials were provided.

On Friday, the presidential palace in Sana'a was hit by at least two shells.

Several Yemeni high-ranking officials, including Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawar and Parliament Speaker Yahya al-Raiee, were wounded in the shelling.

The shelling also left at least seven presidential guards dead.

Yemen's official media said President Ali Abdullah Saleh also suffered minor injuries in the Friday attack.

Hours later, however, the country's state television aired an audio message from President Saleh saying that he was in good condition.

In his audio message, Saleh blamed the attack on the powerful Hashid tribal federation, led by Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, who has been fighting a deadly battle with the regime in Sana'a over the past two weeks.

The tribe's members deny they were behind the attack, leaving some to speculate whether it may have been the work of former government troops who've defected to the opposition.

"It is said that this attack is a very accurate attack and has to be army trained personnel," said Jamila Ali Raja, a former advisor to Yemen's Foreign Ministry.

The recent development comes as thousands of opposition tribesmen make their way to the Yemeni capital to join the fight against regime forces.

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for the almost daily demonstrations in Yemen's major cities since late January, calling for an end to corruption and unemployment as well as demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has been ruling the Middle Eastern country since 1978.

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