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August 12, 2022

Yemenis rejoice as Saleh leaves but fighting continues

President’s condition unclear, as some sources said he was undergoing neurosurgery. Vice President Hadi takes over Saleh’s duties.

SANAA – Thousands of people in Yemen were celebrating the de­parture of President Ali Abdullah Saleh (photo) to Saudi Arabia. He left on Saturday to be treated for injuries he received in an attack on his presidential compound on Friday, according to the BBC.

Many celebrated in the capital, Sanaa’s University Square; others were on the streets chanting and waving flags. But explosions and gunfights have also taken place in Sanaa and Taiz in the south. It remains unclear whether Saleh will return to Yemen.

An uprising demanding that Saleh leave power has led to violence, bringing Yemen close to civil war. Yemen’s acting president – previously the vice-president who under the constitution replaces Saleh in his absence – Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has taken over, including command of the armed forces and security services. He was to meet members of the military and Saleh’s sons, al-Arabiya television is reporting, quoting sources.

Explosions and gunfire have been heard in the city, with correspondents reporting renewed fighting between Yemeni military and fighters of President Saleh’s rival Ahmar tribe. At least five people were killed in a grenade attack at a military compound north of Sanaa.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he is very worried about the latest developments in Yemen. He told the BBC the UK had been urging President Saleh to agree to a deal to achieve stability in Yemen which he described as one of the principal concerns of British national security.

President Saleh has travelled with some members of the family, including his wife. He is reported to be accompanied by 35 relatives, as well as the prime minister and the speaker of the Yemeni parliament.

His condition was unclear yesterday, with Western diplomatic sources saying Saleh is undergoing neurosurgery while a spokesman for his party said he was undergoing “simple check-ups,” according to the CNN.

Yemeni ruling party spokesman Tareq Shami said Sunday that Saleh’s health is “very good and this is an ordinary visit.” “Saleh is not sick and he will be back in Yemen soon,” Shami said.

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