Yemeni opposition tribal chief’s home under fire


Heavy shelling targeted the area surrounding the home of a powerful Yemeni dissident tribal chief in Sanaa Sunday, as his office and authorities exchanged blame over the violence. Troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh “opened fire using machine guns and are firing mortar rounds on the area surrounding Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar’s home” in Al-Hasaba district, said a source from the tribal chief’s home. The shelling, which began in the afternoon, also targetted Al-Mazda road in the district’s centre, prompting people there to flee the area, witnesses said. “The shelling is targeting us from several directions but we have not responded as sheikh Sadiq has given us orders not to respond,” the source who spoke from Ahmar’s home told AFP. But Yemen’s Minister of Interior Motahar Rashad al-Masri said that “Ahmar’s gunmen, deployed on rooftops, opened fire on the ministry of interior and policemen who were having their lunch.” The troops “responded only to silence the source of fire,” he added. “We are committed to self-restraint based on the orders of vice president” Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi. In a statement Saturday, Ahmar’s office accused troops loyal to Saleh, who has been recovering in Riyadh from bomb blast wounds since June, of firing six mortar rounds late on Friday at the tribal chief’s home. No casualties were reported.