Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2011 4:20 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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YEMEN

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is wounded when opposition tribesmen determined to topple him hammer his palace with rockets in a major escalation of nearly two weeks of fighting with government forces. Seven guards are killed and eight senior figures from Saleh's regime are wounded. The attack is a stunning hit on Saleh's leadership, striking a mosque in the palace compound where the president and top officials were praying.

Saleh is taken to a Defense Ministry hospital and the extent of his injuries is not clear. After the attack, officials promise repeatedly that Saleh will appear to the public soon, but eight hours later state TV airs only an audio message from the president in which he says he is well and blames an "armed gang of outlaws" for the attack.

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SYRIA

Syrian security forces open fire during one of the largest anti-government protests so far in the 10-week uprising. Activists say at least 34 people were killed in the city of Hama, where thousands died in a failed 1982 revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad's father.

Authorities also cut Internet service across most of the country, a potentially dire blow for a movement that motivates people with graphic YouTube videos of the crackdown and loosely organizes protests on Facebook pages.

A witness in Hama reached by The Associated Press says there were around 150,000 demonstrators, an unprecedented number if confirmed. He describes a chaotic scene, with security forces firing tear gas and live ammunition, and snipers shooting from the rooftops as people fled.

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LIBYA

Libyan rebels force government troops from three western towns and break the siege on another, a rebel commander says, and NATO pounds to targets across the country. The heavy bombing and rebel victory, plus the first publicized diplomatic contact between China and the rebel leadership, reflects the continued erosion of Moammar Gadhafi's power since the eruption in mid-February of uprisings to end his 42-year rule.

A rebel military leader says local fighters won control of four towns in the western Nafusa mountain range, where government forces have besieged and randomly shelled rebel-held areas for months.

Also, a U.N. official says the world body's refugee agency will meet with a Libyan woman who claims she was gang-raped by Gadhafi's troops. Iman el-Obeidi was deported Thursday from Qatar where she had sought refuge and was flown against her will to Benghazi, the Libyan rebels' de facto capital.

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BAHRAIN

Bahraini police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching toward the landmark Pearl Square in the country's capital, two days after authorities lifted emergency rule. The downtown square was the focus of weeks of Shiite-led protests against the Gulf nation's Sunni rulers earlier this year. There were no reports of casualties among the hundreds of opposition supporters who took their grievances to the streets for the first time since martial law was imposed more than two months ago.

Formula One's governing body deems the kingdom safe enough to host the Bahrain Grand Prix in October. The annual F1 race has been Bahrain's most profitable international event.

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TUNISIA

A trial is expected to begin this month for Tunisia's ousted strongman, who is facing charges in connection with the discovery of caches of millions of euros worth of foreign currency, drugs and arms, the Justice Ministry spokesman says.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia in January and is not expected to attend the proceedings. The longtime president's wife, Laila Trabelsi, is also to be tried in absentia.

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JORDAN

Pro-reform activists take to the streets across Jordan, stepping up their calls for the prime minister to resign because they say he has failed to fight corruption.

About 3,000 people, including leftists and members of Jordan's powerful Muslim Brotherhood, protest in seven cities. The opposition also accuses Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit of stalling on demands for political reforms and new parliamentary elections.

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EGYPT

Close to 500 protesters rally in Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, carrying signs and chanting for the speedy trial of former President Hosni Mubarak. Some call for Mubarak, his wife, Suzanne, and other members of his regime to be tried publicly or on TV.

An Egyptian court said this week that Mubarak would go on trial Aug. 3 on charges of corruption and intentionally killing protesters during the 18-day uprisings that pushed him from power on Feb. 11. His two sons will be tried at the same time on corruption charges.