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Yemeni leader accepts Saudi offer of treatment

As attack injures Yemen's Saleh and his aides, Saudi monarch intervenes in an attempt to contain a raging military conflict

  • A police vehicle burns during clashes between police and anti-government armed men in the southern Yemeni cityImage Credit: Reuters
  • Yemeni army forces patrol at a street following an attack on the presidential palace of Yemeni President Ali AImage Credit: EPA
  • Anti-regime mourners carry the body of a fighters loyal to opposition tribal chief Shaikh Sadeq Al Ahmar durinImage Credit: AFP

Sana'a: Officials close to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh say he has accepted an offer from the Saudi king to travel there for medical treatment for wounds from a rebel rocket attack, but has not yet left Sanaa, the capital.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, said Saleh spoke to Saudi King Abdullah shortly after the rocket attack on Friday night that wounded Saleh and five top government officials.

Eleven security men were killed. A secretary in Saleh's office and a member of his ruling party said the president's plane was still at the Sanaa airport. 

Saudi king mediates Yemeni cease-fire

Yemeni ruling party officials and rebel tribesmen say Saudi King Abdullah has mediated a one-week cease-fire between the warring forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the anti-government opposition.

The Saudi monarch intervened in an attempt to contain a raging military conflict that has swept the capital over the past week.

Abdullah stepped in shortly after Saleh's presidential palace compound was hit by a rebel rocket attack on Friday.

Saleh was slightly injured, and 11 security guards were killed. Five other top officials were sent to Saudi Arabia for treatment.

Wounded Yemen PM sent to Saudi hospital

Prime Minister Ali Mohammad Mujawar and three other senior Yemeni officials wounded in an attack on the  presidential palace were transferred to Saudi Arabia for treatment on Saturday, a medic said.

The condition of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was hospitalised at Sanaa's military hospital was "stable". Saleh was wounded along with his premier and other officials when shells fired by dissident tribesmen smashed into the presidential palace on Friday.

Saleh said in a brief speech that the attack was by an "outlaw gang" of his tribal foes and blamed the powerful Hashed tribe led by Sadeq Al Ahmar who has been battling Saleh loyalists in Sana'a. Saleh said seven were killed in the attack on the presidential compound, which state media said was an explosive device shot into a mosque within the compound.

Meanwhile, Mujawar was transported to Saudi Arabia along with parliament chief Yahya Al Raie, Advisory Council head Abdul Aziz Abdel Gani, and the deputy prime minister for home affairs, Sadek Amini Abu Ras.

The official said the four required medical care in Saudi Arabia where hospitals are better equipped than in Yemen.

Governor Noman Duweik, who lost a leg and a hand in the attack, was in serious condition at hospital in the Yemeni capital, said the official.

Germany closes embassy

Germany on Saturday ordered the closure of its embassy in Yemen and the rapid repatriation of its staff amid widespread unrest, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Even if the fighting in the capital is not directed against foreigners, the dangerous nature of the situation has led the foreign ministry to take this decision," the statement said.

Staff at the embassy have been told to leave "as soon as possible," it added.

UK, EU call for citizens to immediately leave Yemen

Britain on Friday intensified calls for its citizens to immediately leave Yemen and warned of an "extremely serious escalation of violence" as the country teetered on the brink of civil war.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also said Britain would be unable to evacuate its nationals due to the deteriorating security situation, in a strongly worded statement released shortly after Yemen's president was lightly injured in an attack.

Howeer the European Union on Friday said it had activated a mechanism to evacuate its citizens from Yemen and called for an "immediate ceasefire" as the country teetered towards civil war, foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said.

Hague said: "Today's extremely serious escalation of violence in Yemen underscores our clear message that British nationals in Yemen should leave immediately while commercial flights are still operating".

"Given that we cannot expect forewarning of any airport closures, British nationals should not wait to leave.

"We have already said that in such a difficult security situation it is extremely unlikely the British government will be able to evacuate British nationals.

"In light of the latest escalations, I cannot restate this strongly enough.

"You should not plan for nor expect the British government to be in a position to assist you to reach safety," he added.