Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Sana’a on Friday after more than three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. His abrupt return was announced by state television and he arrived in the capital in the early afternoon.
The 69-year-old Saleh, who has since January faced massive street protests demanding he step down, was hospitalized in Riyadh on June 4, a day after being wounded in a bomb attack in a mosque. He appeared on television for the first time after the attack on July 7, covered in bandages and his face clearly showing burn wounds.
According to the Al Arabiya correspondent in Sana’a there are unconfirmed reports that Saleh will chair a ruling party meeting in which he might announce his resignation.
The president’s return on Friday came as his forces were fighting dissidents loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar in Sana’a for the sixth straight day which has seen almost 100 people killed since Sunday.
Al-Hasaba district on Thursday became the theatre of bloody clashes between gunmen affiliated to powerful dissident tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar and followers of Saghir bin Aziz, a tribesman allied to Saleh.
The clashes in the Yemeni capital have delayed a Gulf Cooperation Council initiative that would see Saleh stepping down and handing over all constitutional authorities to his deputy.
UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar said that the deteriorating security situation, and the reluctance of both sides to reach a political resolution, raises "the risk of civil war breaking out."
Benomar arrived on Tuesday in Yemen where he and GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani have been working to bring in a peace deal between both parties.