Yemeni President leaves for Saudi Arabia for medical treatment

14:28, June 05, 2011      

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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia early Sunday to get medical treatment, and has assigned his deputy Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to run state affairs, officials and local media said.

According to Deputy Information Minister Abdu al-Janadi and media reports, Saleh and his family members were picked up by a medical plane dispatched by Saudi government.

The president was hurt by artillery shells after gunmen loyal to opposition tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahamr fired at the presidential palace on Friday. Seven of Saleh's bodyguards were killed and 48 other people were wounded, including the president himself.

Before he left for Saudi Arabia, Saleh has assigned his deputy, Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to run the affairs of the country, according to the reports.

On Saturday, Saleh's press secretary denied that the president went to Saudi Arabia, but told Xinhua five senior officials who suffered serious injuries during the attack, incuding Prime Minister Ali Mujawar, deputy Prime Minister Rashid al-Alami and Parliament Speaker Yahya al-Raiee, had already arrived in the kingdom.

Doctors said Saleh, who has been facing four-month anti-government protests calling for his immediate departure after 33 years in power, was seriously wounded in Friday's attacks. One of the injuries was in the chest, 6.7cm from the heart while his face and chest suffered second-degree burns.

Sporadic sounds of explosions, shellings and shootings were still heard in Sanaa as many civilians prepared to flee the capital immediately.

Source: Xinhua

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