Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh was wounded yesterday along with his prime minister and other officials as shells struck a mosque in the presidential palace compound, a security official said.
The mosque attack came as fighting that has killed scores of people in north Sana’a spread to the south of the capital and the poverty-stricken Arabian Peninsula country teetered towards civil war.
Four officers of the elite Republican Guard were killed when two shells crashed into the mosque, the official said.
Saleh himself “was lightly wounded in the attack” on the palace mosque in Sana’a, a security official said. The extent of Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawar’s injuries were not immediately clear.
In an assurance to the Yemeni public, state television later said that the president was “well.”
A source close to the presidency said that Yemen’s deputy prime minister for defense and security, General Rashad al-Alimi was “critically wounded and hospitalized.”
The attack was blamed by the authorities on dissident tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, who have been locked in fierce clashes with government forces in north Sana’a since Tuesday.
Yemeni forces loyal to Saleh yesterday shelled the homes of the tribal leaders, including that of of Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar, a leader of the biggest opposition party and brother of Sheikh Sadiq.