Yemen’s Saleh injured by planted bomb


Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh was injured earlier this month by a bomb planted in a mosque within the presidential palace, but he is recovering and will return to Yemen soon, a source close to Saleh told Reuters. Saleh’s health and fate have been the subject of conflicting reports in the three weeks since the attack, which forced him to seek treatment in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. The circumstances of the attack on June 3 had also been unclear.
“The bomb in the mosque was in close proximity to the president when it went off. He was really lucky to get out,” said the source who was with Saleh during the attack. Yemeni officials had earlier accused an opposition tribal coalition of shelling the palace, a charge it denied. The source declined to say who he thought had planted the bomb.
Saleh left behind a nearly failed state that has been rocked by months of protests against his three decades of rule. Some of his generals have defected while Yemen faces a rebellion in the north, separatist violence in the south and a resurgent wing of al Qaeda. Less than 40 percent of Saleh’s body was burnt, the source, said, referring to widely circulated details of Saleh’s injuries. Some 39 other Yemenis, including the prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and the speakers of both parliamentary chambers, were also injured and taken for treatment to different hospitals across Saudi Arabia.
“After the bomb went off several rockets were fired in the direction of the mosque, but people from inside had already pulled the president out,” added the source, who was also injured in the attack on his legs and chest. The source said in Riyadh that Saleh’s health had improved in hospital enough to allow him to travel to Yemen soon. “He wants to address the people of Yemen via the Yemeni television very soon,” the source said. Saleh’s media secretary said in Sanaa on Sunday that Saleh would make a media appearance within 48 hours.