Fighting broke out again in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a Saturday, with the forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelling the homes of anti-government leaders.Each passing day brings Yemen closer and closer to a civil war, and the exchanges of rocket and gunfire on the homes and compounds of rival leaders shows that neither side is particularly inclined to negotiate a peaceful solution to ending Saleh's regime.
Sporadic rocket fire and firefights erupted in the al-Hasaba district of northern Sana'a, the home base of dissident tribesman Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. He is a leader of what Saleh said was a "gang of outlaws" that carried out a rocket attack on the presidential compound Friday. Thousands fled the city on Saturday and roads were clogged at daybreak.
Seven people were killed in the rocket attack Friday, including key government officials, while Saleh was "lightly wounded" as the group attended prayers at a mosque inside the presidential compound.
Several top government officials wounded in the attack were flown to neighboring Saudi Arabia for treatment. Al-Arabiya TV reported that Saleh was among them, but a Yemeni spokesman said the report was not true and that he was still in Yemen.
The ongoing warfare between forces loyal to Saleh and anti-government protesters seemed to leave the country on the brink of a civil war. Saleh has three times promised to end his 33-year reign in a deal brokered by neighboring countries, but so far has reneged on the agreement.
Diplomatic efforts to broker a deal have failed three previous times, and time is running out for a peaceful resolution as the attack on Saleh's compound is likely to only harden Saleh's position and rally his supporters to fight to the bitter end.