Jeb Boone reports for TIME on the tense situation in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. As Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh recovers in Saudi Arabia from an attack on his home, many ordinary Yemenis celebrate his (at least temporary) departure. But, as Boone reports, a climate of fear and uncertainty remains suspended over the city and the country: the longer Yemen’s political fate hangs in limbo, many people believe, the greater the likelihood of a war. Meanwhile, both citizens and opposition groups alike are beginning to grow weary of the more than four months of protests and fighting: alliances are fraying and the image of a cohesive anti-Saleh front has begun to fade. Boone writes:
Chaos erupted in the streets. Red flares, used by the Republican Guards in their 13 day war against the Hashid tribal confederation in the capital to direct fire, were shot from all directions around the city. Familiar with the flares’ usual tactical purpose, residents panicked, expecting gunfire to break out all around them. “Run, get in your houses, run,” they screamed as they fled what they expected to be incoming fire.
As the flares continued, however, fireworks began to be mixed in with the military signaling technique. And though gunfire began and shook the city, women began to ululate, a sign of festivity. Confused, residents warily made their way out their homes and soon learned that the gunfire was celebratory. “Don’t be scared, our president is alive,” said Ahmed Salem, a Sana’a resident, urging people out of their homes to join in the seemingly spontaneous expression of joy for the president’s recovery.
Read the full story here.