6 Jun 2011

Yemeni leader 'recovering' after attack on compound

8:05 pm on 6 June 2011

Yemen's leader Ali Abdullah Saleh is recovering from surgery in Saudi Arabia to remove shrapnel from his chest and intends to return to the country, according to officials.

The president was flown to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on a medical flight on Saturday a day after being wounded in an attack on his presidential compound in the capital Sanaa, the BBC reports.

Thousands of people have been celebrating his departure after weeks of anti-government protests calling for an end to his 33-year rule.

Many celebrated in University Square in Sanaa, while others took to the streets chanting and waving flags.

However, Yemen's deputy information minister Abdu al-Janadi said Mr Saleh would be returning.

Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has replaced Mr Saleh in his absence, and is in command of the armed forces and security services.

The president's son, Ahmed, and nephews Amar and Yahya, who are Mr Saleh's military commanders, are reported to still be in Yemen.