Thursday, September 29, 2011

Four killed in Yemen violence

Sep 29, 2011

Sana'a - Four people were killed Thursday in the Yemeni capital Sana'a and the southern city of Taiz in fresh fighting between troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents, according to medical and media reports.

Thursday's violence shattered a three-day lull in Yemen and triggered fears that the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country was heading towards civil war.

Two people died and seven were wounded in Sana'a in fighting between forces from the elite Republican Guard and troops of dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.

A security source accused the al-Ahmar forces of shelling the house of pro-government parliamentarian Saghir bin Aziz in Sana'a, according to the state news agency SABA.

'These militias also shelled a school in the area of Jadr (in Sana'a), leaving some pupils seriously injured,' the source was quoted as saying.

There was no immediate comment from al-Ahmar, who defected from the army in March to side with the anti-Saleh protesters.

Clashes also erupted between government forces and loyalists of the anti-Saleh tribal chief Sadeq al-Ahmar in the district of al-Hasaba in northern Sana'a.

The capital was rocked by explosions, with one blast taking place inside a police camp located near the presidential palace in the city centre, reported the pro-opposition website Mareb Press.

Following the blast, vehicles carrying soldiers and weapons left the camp and were deployed across Sana'a, the website quoted witnesses as saying.

Later Thursday, thousands of anti-Saleh protesters marched across central Sana'a amid tight security.

A mass protest was also held in the eastern province of Mareb, with demonstrators demanding that the anti-Saleh troops put him on trial for the 'massacres of the regime.'

Meanwhile, at least two people were killed and nine wounded early Thursday when government forces shelled restive residential areas in Taiz, Yemen's second-biggest city, according to opposition sources.

The shelling prompted an exodus from the targeted districts, they added.

More than 100 people have been killed in Yemen, mainly in Sana'a, since September 18, according to local human rights groups.

Millions of Yemenis have taken to the streets since February, demanding an end to Saleh's 33-year rule.

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