SANAA, Yemen – Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia for medical care after he was wounded in a rocket attack on his palace, a senior government official said today. Saleh’s departure threatened to deepen the crisis in his impoverished nation shaken by months of protests seeking to end his 33-year rule.
His departure followed intense pressure from his powerful Gulf neighbors and longtime ally Washington to step down. He had agreed to transfer power several times, only to step back at the last moment.
Saleh might never return, given the opposition by large segments of the population and a powerful tribal alliance that took up arms after peaceful protests failed to persuade him to step down.
The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information, said Saleh had flown out of the country with most of his family.