Sana'a, August 14, 2011
Yemeni warplanes allegedly raided the hideouts of opposition-backed rebels in Sanaa province late Saturday, killing at least five gunmen and injuring 12 others, witnesses said.
"The Yemeni military aircraft carried out several raids on strongholds of the opposition-backed militants in Arhab district, killing five gunmen and injuring other 12 armed tribesmen," a witness told Xinhua.
He said three houses, a mosque and farms were damaged by the warplanes' missiles.
Other witnesses said the opposition-backed rebels, who are waging war against the elite Republican Guard troops to press for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, used rocket launchers to fire back on the troops' Samaa military base.
In Nihim district, some 20 km south of Arhab, fierce clashes erupted earlier Saturday between Republican Guard forces and armed tribesmen of the pro-opposition Nihm tribes, leaving at least eight gunmen wounded, local officials said.
No immediate reports of casualties from the side of the government troops were available.
he Defense Ministry said earlier that the opposition militants in Nihm, about 40 km northeast of Sanaa, and Arhab have been waging battles against government troops since late May, seeking to capture the Samaa military base, the Sanaa International Airport and northern entrances of Sanaa.
Military officials of the defected First Armored Division told Xinhua that the division, which was commanded by Saleh's half brother Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar who defected from the government and joined Saleh's opponents in March, sent 53 well-trained soldiers to back the tribes of Arhab and Nihm against the Republican Guards.