NEW YORK, Mar 18, 2011- President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism official condemned Friday "in the strongest terms" a brutal crackdown on protesters in Yemen that he said would "just feed extremism."
Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, who has spoken several times to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in recent days, said he would call the Yemeni leader again later on Friday to raise his concerns.
In a bloodbath Friday in the capital Sanaa at least 41 people were killed and more than 200 wounded, raising the death toll in almost a month of protests against Saleh's 32-year rule to more than 70.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the use of force," Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan told journalists in New York, describing reports of the crackdown as "very disturbing."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also called Friday for an end to the violence.
"With regard to Yemen, our message remains the same. The violence needs to end, negotiations need to be pursued in order to reach a political solution," Clinton told journalists in Washington.