Yemen's Saleh Alive
Contrary to reports in opposition media Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is alive after being wounded by a rocket on Friday.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 6/4/2011, 8:56 PM / Last Update: 6/4/2011, 8:51 PM
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been left with shrapnel near his heart and second-degree burns to his chest and face after an attack on his palace, the BBC reported on Saturday.
Yemeni officials dismissed earlier reports on Arabiya TV that Saleh had left for neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where six other wounded officials have been air-lifted for medical treatment.
It is unlikely Saleh would accept treatment in Saudi Arabia as global powers have been pressing Saleh to sign a Gulf Cooperation Council deal to end his 33-year rule. Leaving Yemen, even for medical care, could make it hard for Saleh to retain power.
The BBC said it had been informed by "sources close to the president" that Saleh had a piece of shrapnel almost 7.6 cm long under his heart.
The sources added that it was unclear whether the Yemeni president would need surgery.
In an audio address on Friday aimed at dismissing reports in oppostion controlled media that he was dead, Saleh said he had suffered only minor wounds and blamed an "outlaw gang" for the attack.
Saleh has not appeared in public, raising speculation over the extent of his injuries.