US considers Saleh medical request

The Obama administration is considering whether to allow Yemen’s outgoing president into the United States for medical treatment, as fresh violence and political tensions continue to flare.

A senior administration official said president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s office requested that he be allowed to receive specialised treatment in the US for injuries sustained in a June attack on his compound. The request was being considered, and would only be approved for medical reasons, the official said. Last month, Mr Saleh agreed to a US-Saudi-backed deal to hand power over to his vice-president and commit to stepping down completely in exchange for immunity. Pressure has been mounting in recent weeks for Mr Saleh to leave Yemen altogether. Opponents say he has continued to wield influence through his loyalists and relatives still in positions of power, hampering the transition ahead of presidential elections set for 21 February. Many feared he would find a way to continue his rule.

Activists said troops commanded by his relatives attacked protesters in Sanaa on Saturday, killing at least nine people.

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Tens of thousands of people demonstrated the following day, protesting the deaths and demanding the resignation of vice- president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for failing to bring the killers to justice.