Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three killed in clashes in two regions of Yemen

By Mohammad Ghobari

Thu Jul 21, 2011

SANAA (Reuters) - Three people were killed in clashes in two regions of Yemen between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents, who are growing increasingly frustrated they have failed to oust him.

In Taiz, opposition sources said Saleh loyalists opened fire on protesters, killing one, when they tried to leave a city square where they have camped out for nearly six months calling for an end to Saleh's three-decade rule.

Saleh's tenacity has frustrated protesters who thought his time was up when he flew to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment last month following an assassination attempt, leaving impoverished Yemen in political limbo.

As the stalemate goes on, clashes have broken out between the Republican Guard, which is commanded by Saleh's son, and armed pro-opposition tribesmen who say they are defending the protesters.

Fighting between the Republican Guard and armed men on Thursday killed two people in Arhab, which has been the scene of shelling and gun battles during the past three days.

It was not known whether those killed had taken part in the fighting or if they had been hit in the crossfire.

Western powers and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, both targets of Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have tried to contain rising chaos by pressing Saleh to sign a Gulf-brokered plan to hand over power.

But he has backed out of the deal three times at the very last minute and has vowed to return to Yemen.

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