Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 9

June 3, 2011

The conflict in Yemen’s capital has crossed a new threshold after an attack on the presidential palace. The opposition’s use of indirect fire (IDF) suggests the involvement of trained forces, and more importantly, is an escalation toward outright war in the capital.

Tribesmen fired rockets at the presidential palace for the first time. President Ali Abdullah Saleh reportedly suffered minor injuries and Yemen’s prime minister, deputy prime minister, parliament speaker, and Sana’a governor, among others, were wounded in the attack. Four guards were killed. At least two shells hit a mosque inside the presidential palace. Earlier opposition reports said that Saleh had been killed.

Tribal reinforcements continue to arrive in the capital. Hussein al Ahmar, brother of Hashid tribal leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar, is reportedly leading thousands of fellow tribesmen from Amran city to Sana’a.

Taiz clashes continue. Yemeni security forces are enforcing a city-wide ban on public gatherings, which protestors continue to challenge.

The direct attack on Saleh indicates a willingness to remove him from power by whatever means necessary. This development may lead to a rapid escalation toward civil war.

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