Yemen President Saleh ‘leaves Saudi hospital’

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has left hospital in Saudi Arabia, more than two months after he was wounded in a bombing at his Sanaa residence, but will remain in Riyadh, a Saudi official told the AFP news agency.

The Saudi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The Yemeni president left the military hospital this evening at 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) after receiving the necessary treatment and was taken to a temporary residence for a recovery period”.

A Yemeni government source said the wounded leader had vowed to return to Yemen but would remain in government housing in the Saudi capital “until his doctors allow him to return”.

Abdo al-Janadi, the junior information minister, refused to confirm Saleh’s release from hospital, merely telling AFP that “the president is following his treatment” in Riyadh.

Saleh was admitted to the Saudi military hospital the day after the June 3 attack on his official residence in which eleven people were killed and 124 others were wounded, among them senior officials.

He appeared on television on July 7 for the first time since the bombing, covered in bandages.

Three days later, he was shown on television receiving John Brennan, US President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser. Saleh was in better shape than in his earlier appearance, although burns on his face were still visible.

The White House said Brennan had called on Saleh during the meeting to sign a transition plan sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that would see him cede power within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Since Saleh’s departure to Saudi Arabia, Yemeni Vice President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi has assumed power but has not been designated the de facto head of state.

The opposition, meanwhile, has called for the creation of an interim council, to prevent Saleh’s return.

Since January, protesters across Yemen have been calling for Saleh to step down.

Uprising continues

The announcement about Saleh came as forces loyal to him fought in the capital with those of the Ahmar family, a major power within Yemen’s Hashed tribal confederation, witnesses said.

The two sides were said to have traded fire in the Hassaba district of Sanaa, where prominent members of the Ahmar family reside.

The exchange marked a second day of confrontation in the area, though there were no reports of casualties.

Weeks of fighting between Saleh’s forces and those of the Ahmar family have left parts of Sanaa in ruins.

The recent violence ends an uneasy ceasefire after the bombing of Saleh’s compound in June.

Separately, one protester was killed and three injured in the southern city of Taiz, when forces loyal to the president opened fire to scatter an anti-Saleh demonstration, witnesses said.

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