Yemeni president says he is ‘in good health’ after mosque attack

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in a televised audio address late on Friday night that he was “well and in good health” after being injured in an attack on his presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa, Al Jazeera repored.

The rocket attack on a mosque inside the palace, where Saleh and top government officials were attending Friday prayers, killed at least three bodyguards and wounded several senior officials, according to Yemen’s state news agency Saba.

In his address, Saleh blamed the attack, in which he said “seven officers were martyred,” on the opposition Hashed tribe led by powerful Sadiq al-Ahmar, Al Jazeera said.

“I salute our armed forces and the security forces for standing up firmly to confront this challenge by an outlaw gang that has nothing to do with the so-called youth revolution,” Saleh was quoted on the Al Jazeera website as saying.

Some of the initial media reports said Saleh himself had been killed in the attack, but the Yemeni state television was quick to deny the allegations, saying that the president was “well.”

The attack on the presidential palace came the day after dozens of people were killed in gun battles between Saleh loyalists and hundreds of members of Yemeni opposition tribal groups in Sanaa. Following the clashes, Saleh ordered the arrest of tribal chief al-Ahmar.

Al-Ahmar’s office has denied responsibility for the presidential palace attack, saying that Saleh himself ordered it in a bid to justify a government escalation of street fighting in the capital.

Anti-government protests against Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, have been taking place for nearly five months. Over 120 people have been killed over the last week, pushing Yemen to the brink of the civil war.


MOSCOW, June 4 (RIA Novosti)

Leave a comment