Yemeni president flees nation for medical treatment
Pro-Democracy forces celebrate, saying 'Yemen is reborn'
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has left the country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after suffering injuries in an explosion near his presidential compound. The president has undergone two operations to remove shrapnel from his upper body and perform neurosurgery on his neck, according to a Saudi official. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have seized the day to proclaim what they call the fall of the Yemeni government.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have seized the day to proclaim what they call the fall of the Yemeni government.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Today, Yemen is newborn," sang dozens of youths in Sanaa's University Square, dubbed "Change Square." The area has been the epicenter of anti-government protests that have raged since February. Protesters also slaughtered cows to revel in Saleh's departure.
In Yemen's second-largest city Taiz, hundreds also celebrated, chanting: "Freedom, freedom, Ali has fled".
The al-Ahmar group that has been locked in battle against troops loyal to Saleh has agreed to abide by a day-old truce.
Acting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has offered to withdraw troops from the Sanaa neighborhood that has seen the heaviest fighting and lift roadblocks for the main routes into the capital.
Saudi officials said Saleh was in their capital, Riyadh, for treatment only and that the visit was not a political one and insist Saleh would return to Yemen after two weeks. Yemen's opposition has vowed not to let Saleh return from Saudi Arabia.
"We will work with all our strength to prevent his return," Mohammed Qahtan, Yemeni parliamentary opposition spokesman says. "We see this as the beginning of the end of this tyrannical and corrupt regime."
Saleh flew to Riyadh on a Saudi medical aircraft and was immediately taken to a military hospital at King Khalid Air Base, while a second aircraft carried members of his family. According to Reuters, Saleh walked off the aircraft but had visible injuries on his neck, head and face.
Once he recovers from the first two surgeries, Saleh is also expected to have plastic surgery to mend wounds on his face and neck.
Saleh's departure has raised speculations over whether he will ever return. The rocket attack on the presidential palace, which killed 11 people, devastated the government. The Prime Minister, two deputy prime ministers and the speakers of both parliamentary chambers are being treated in Riyadh for injuries.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Yemen, President Saleh, Sanaa, Saudi Arabia
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