Saleh’s Forces Shell Opposition Leaders’ Homes in Yemen Capital

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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Fighting broke out again in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a Saturday, with the forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelling the homes of anti-government leaders.

Sporadic rocket fire and firefights erupted in the al-Hasaba district of northern Sana'a, the home base of dissident tribesman Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. He is a leader of what Mr. Saleh said was a “gang of outlaws” that carried out a rocket attack on the presidential compound Friday. Thousands fled the city on Saturday and roads were clogged at daybreak.

Seven people were killed in the rocket attack Friday, including key government officials, while Mr. Saleh was “lightly wounded” as the group attended prayers at a mosque inside the presidential compound.

Several top government officials wounded in the attack were flown to neighboring Saudi Arabia for treatment. Al Arabiya TV reported that Mr. Saleh was among them, but a Yemeni spokesman said the report was not true and that he was still in Yemen.

The ongoing warfare between forces loyal to Mr. Saleh and anti-government protesters seemed to leave the country on the brink of a civil war. Mr. Saleh has three times promised to end his 33-year reign in a deal brokered by neighboring countries, but so far has reneged on the agreement.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since a popular uprising began against Mr. Saleh in January.