Yemen: endgame for strongman Saleh?

Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia imminently to receive treatment for wounds he suffered in an attack on the presidential palace, Saudi government sources said June 4. Saleh has been left with shrapnel near his heart and second-degree burns to his chest and face after the palace attack. Saudi Arabia has brokered a fresh truce between a tribal federation and Saleh-loyal forces. But a Saudi-brokered truce agreed to a week ago held for only a day before fresh street battles broke out in the capital Sanaa, leading to the most intense fighting there since the uprising against Saleh’s 32-year role began. On June 3, fighting engulfed Sanaa, where residents cowered in their homes as explosions rocked the city. More than 370 people have been killed, at least 155 of them in the last 10 days, since the popular uprising began in January. (Reuters, Reuetrs, Khajeel Times, UAE, June 4; Reuters, June 3)

Amid the chaos in the capital, hundreds of Islamist militants seized control over the southern coastal town of Zinjibar, capturing six tanks and several armored cars as the the local local brigade retreated. Medical and military officials said eight civilians and 18 soldiers were killed in the battle for the town. Some fighters are believed to be members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). (FT, May 31; AP, May 30)

See our last posts on Yemen and the Arab Spring.

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