After learning of the bloody rocket attack at the Yemeni presidential palace in the capital Sanna on Friday, the White House released a statement urging both the opposition and pro-government sides to exercise restraint. The event resulted to seven officers killed while President Ali Abdullah Saleh survived the carnage and sustained some injuries.

In a public audio speech delivered after strike, Saleh said it was the work of Sadiq al-Ahmar’s Hashed tribal confederation, a known opposition to Saleh’s administration. Last February Sadiq’s brother, Sheikh Hussein Bin Abdullah al-Ahmar, resigned from his post in Saleh’s government after security forces shot over protesters.

Saleh has repeatedly accused Sadiq’s Hashed tribe to be responsible for the spiraling violence in the country that already killed hundreds of people since the unrest began in January. In his statement, he referred to the latest violence as the job of an outlaw gang and “has nothing to do with the so-called youth revolution” at the same time praising his security forces as “martyrs.”

In an official statement during a meeting with the press, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also called for a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen. Washington has been closely watching the events in Yemen as the country plays a pivotal role in the US war against terror in the region.

Saleh is a known ally of the Americans in their battle against Al-Qaeda. Latest policy statements by US President Barack Obama, however, hints Saleh could be on his way out and the US is trying to negotiate a smooth exit for the embattled president who has ruled Yemen since 1978.

According to the Pentagon, American troops are in Yemen to observe the situation but may leave the country when things gets more stable. No official word yet on how many US servicemen are stationed in the Arab country although some sources say that there are about a hundred trainers and support personnel there primarily to help train Yemen’s counterterrorism force.

Middle East experts believe that Yemeni stability is of great importance to Saudi Arabia considering the proximity and cultural connections between the two countries. The oil-rich kingdom is believed to have strong influence on the two factions that are currently fighting over control of Yemen. Riyadh is very much aware that further escalations of the violence in Yemen can lead to a mass exodus of refugees that will flood their country.

Since the crisis began, the Saudis have taken a much subordinate role in dealing with their neighbor. With fresh violence erupting that could move the Yemeni state in a brink of a civil war, the kingdom must take firmer steps in order to avoid a total meltdown of the situation and risk uncontrollable regional implications. Some argue that in the event Saleh vacates the seat of power in Yemen, Saudi Arabia could be one of the few countries that could offer him refuge.