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Saleh suffers burns on 40% of body, collapsed lung after presidential palace attack

RIA Novosti

12:24 07/06/2011 MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered burns on 40 percent of his body and a collapsed lung after being injured in an attack on his presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa, CNN reported citing U.S. government officials.

The rocket attack on a mosque inside the palace, where Saleh and top government officials were attending Friday prayers, killed at least three bodyguards and wounded several senior officials, according to Yemen's state news agency Saba.

It is uncertain when Saleh will return to his country, swept by anti-governmental protests.

Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has assumed the role of acting president and supreme commander of the armed forces, Al Jazeera reported citing anonymous sources on Sunday.

Saleh said in a televised audio address last week that he was "well and in good health" after being injured in the attack on his presidential palace Sanaa, Al Jazeera repored.

In his address, Saleh blamed the attack, in which he said "seven officers were martyred," on the opposition Hashed tribe led by powerful Sadiq al-Ahmar.

The attack on the presidential palace came the day after dozens of people were killed in gun battles between Saleh loyalists and hundreds of members of Yemeni opposition tribal groups in the capital. Following the clashes, Saleh ordered the arrest of tribal chief al-Ahmar.

Al-Ahmar's office has denied responsibility for the presidential attack, saying that Saleh himself ordered it in a bid to justify a government escalation of street fighting in the capital.

Anti-government protests against Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, have been taking place for nearly five months. Over 120 people have been killed over the last week, pushing Yemen to the brink of a civil war.



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