(MENAFN - Arab News) A US official says Yemen's longtime president will wait until after a vote next week on a new interim president before returning home. Ali Abdullah Saleh has been in the United States since last month to receive treatment for injuries sustained in an assassination attempt last year.
The Obama administration has pressed the 69-year-old Saleh not to return until after Tuesday's election of Yemen's vice president as the new leader.
Saleh is accused of rights abuses in a crackdown on protesters. Opponents fear he will continue to wield power behind the scenes.
A US official says Saleh will wait until Wednesday to return.
Meanwhile, Yemeni troops killed three suspected Al-Qaeda members during overnight clashes around the southern city of Zinjibar, which was seized by the group in May, a military source said on Saturday.
"Two members of Al-Qaeda, including a local chief, died when a rocket hit their position in the suburbs of Zinjibar," the source said. In a separate incident, one Al-Qaeda fighter was killed and four others wounded in an exchange of small arms fire, the source added.
In May, militants from the Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen who declare themselves the Partisans of Shariah, took control of Zinjibar, triggering months of fighting between militants and government troops.
So far, at least three tribal-mediated negotiation attempts to secure a militants withdrawal have failed.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 90,000 residents displaced.
Heavily armed tribes, which play a vital role in Yemeni politics and society, have been joining the army to battle militants linked to Al-Qaeda, who have taken over several regions across the country's south and east.