The leader of an opposition party in Yemen survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday when gunmen fired on his car in the capital.
The Islah party said Mohammed Yadoumi was driving through Sanaa when the assailants opened fire on his vehicle, hitting it four times. Yadoumi escaped the attack unharmed.
In a statement, the so-called Joint Meeting Parties blamed Saleh’s security apparatus for the attack, accusing it of trying to “throw the nation into civil war.”
“The remains of Saleh’s family imagine that this will allow them to remain in power,” it said.
Yadoumi’s Islah party is among the strongest opposition forces in Yemen. It holds a strong parliamentary minority, and it has been active in the anti-Saleh protests this year.
Hours earlier, a bomb placed under the driver’s seat of a British man’s car blew up in southern Yemen, killing the man, security officials said.
The British man, who was not identified, was killed after a bomb planted in his sport utility vehicle blew up as he drove through Aden. The man worked for the Aden-based Arab Company for Inspection and Marine Consulting.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, and security officials had no word on the motives behind the attack. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said the man returned Wednesday morning from the city of Hodeida on Yemen’s west coast. His car exploded a few hours later after he left the hotel where he was staying.
The officials said the explosives were placed under the driver’ seat, but were unsure whether the they were planted while the car was at the hotel or earlier.
Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed that a car bomb had killed a British national in Aden and said it asked Yemeni authorities to investigate.
On the political front, a preparatory committee of the opposition approved the creation of a “national coalition council,” Ahmed Al-Sabri, the spokesman for the committee, said.
The aim is to bring together the Common Forum parliamentary opposition parties, the young protesters, the Southern Movement, which advocated southern secession but in May said it would support a federal system, northern rebels, civil society representatives and others, Sabri said.
The committee will announce a national coalition council on Aug. 1, he said, adding that its mission would be to relaunch protests against Saleh.
The council aims to end divisions among the various components of the opposition.
“The leaders of the protests do not act in coordination,” one opposition member said, citing divisions between northern rebels and the Al-Islah-led opposition.
“There are doubts among certain protesters about the intentions of dissident Gen. Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar,” with some wondering if he is in fact an ally of the regime, he added.
Ahmar commands Yemen’s northwest military district but, along with several other generals and a number of troops, has declared his support for anti-Saleh protesters, while elite units such as the Republican Guards have remained loyal to the president.
Also illustrating divisions among opposition members, a group of protesters on Saturday announced the creation of a 17-member “presidential council” to run the country in the event of Saleh’s departure, which has not been well-received by other sections of the opposition.