Missiles struck the palace of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a on Friday, wounding three senior officials, while a western diplomat said the president himself was wounded in the attack, reports Reuters.
Fierce fighting engulfed the Yemeni capital and explosions rocked the city as residents hid in their homes.
Yemeni officials said Saleh escaped unhurt. The prime minister, his deputy and the parliament speaker, however, were wounded in the attack. The government blamed the tribesmen led by the al-Ahmar family. Four guards were reportedly killed in the attack.
A Yemeni opposition TV station, Suhail, reported earlier that Saleh had died in the attack, by a mortar that hit the palace mosque.
National security council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the U.S. is monitoring reports that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was wounded Friday, but could not confirm it. He said the U.S. is very concerned about the escalating violence in Yemen.
Earlier, a Yemeni government official said Saleh was lightly injured when rockets hit the presidential palace. It's the first time opposition tribesman have shelled the presidential palace.
Civil War Mode:
The country is in a civil war mode at the moment with forces of the Hashed tribal confederation battling troops loyal to Saleh throughout the country.
More than 350 people have been killed, and 155 of them in the last 10 days, since the uprising against Saleh's 33 years in power began in January.
Explosions were also heard in the southern city of Taiz, where a team of the United Nations is carrying out investigations about reports that 50 people have been killed since Sunday.
Protesters took out a procession with the coffins of 50 people it said were killed by Saleh's forces before the attack on the palace.
Saleh, resisting the global pressure, has thrice refused to resign after the Gulf States have offered him a deal to quit in return for immunity from prosecution.
Capital Sana’a, at the moment, is split with Saleh loyalists holding the south against tribesmen and rebel military units in the north.
As jobs and food are scarce in the country, two-fifths of the more than 20 million people are struggling to live on less than $2 a day, a Reuters report said.