June 8, 2011 12:22:43 am
US officials said Tuesday that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was more badly injured than thought in a blast at his compound last week. Saleh is receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia for burns covering some 40 per cent of his body,US officials said. Yemens leader also is suffering from bleeding inside his skull,the officials said on condition of anonymity.
One current and one former US official also Saleh had additional,significant injuries to his upper body. Burns covered some of his back as well,according to the sources. His face was quite charred, said a Western official,speaking anonymously according to governmental rules. The burns are serious; he is not as well as his aides are portraying it.
US officials said US officials think the injuries were caused by a bomb planted inside his compound in Sanaa,not a rocket attack from outside the compound walls. That conflicts with initial reports of the attack. The explosive material also apparently contained some kind of accelerant that spurred flames,a Western diplomat said. Saleh was said to be bowing at the palace mosque when the explosion erupted. He was very close and that is why he was burned, said the Western official.
The burns are not life-threatening,both Yemeni and Western officials said. However,they are extensive enough to need three or four months for healing,said a Yemeni official.
There have also been reports that one of the wooden shards that sliced into his body punctured a lung,said Abdul Rahman al-Rashed,the head of the Arabiya television network. That too could require a more extended convalescent period,he said. An aide reached at the hospital refused to confirm nor deny the extent of Salehs injuries.
Nouman Duweid,the governor of Sana,flown out a day later,remains in a coma,said Tareq Shami,the spokesman for the General Peoples Congress. Other officials evacuated were the prime minister,the speaker of Parliament,the head of the Shura council,and two deputy prime ministers,including one,Sadiq Ameen Abu Ras,who lost a leg,Yemeni officials said. At least a half dozen other members of parliament,advisers and soldiers are also being treated.
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