By AHMED AL-HAJ
The Associated Press
SANAA, Yemen — Two children were killed in southern Yemen Thursday when they set off a rocket-propelled grenade as they tried to extract metal from it to sell, residents and medical officials said.
The children, aged 9 and 13, died in the city of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan where government forces have been battling al-Qaida militants for control for the past five months.
Resident Mohammed Hamel said the children were trying to extract iron from the grenade to sell, a common practice among impoverished residents in southern Yemen. The medical officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
Elsewhere in Yemen, officials said an oil pipeline in Marib province was attacked for the sixth time this year. The attack took place 100 miles east of the capital Sanaa. It was not clear who was behind it, but officials have blamed past pipeline attacks on disgruntled tribesmen calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster.
The attack came on another day of massive street protests across the country demanding that Saleh, who has ruled for 33 years, step down. Yemeni security forces loyal to the president opened fire on thousands of protesters in the southern city of Taiz, wounding eight, according to medics and activists.