9 killed in clashes in central Yemen

AP News
Posted: Nov 02, 2011 11:46 AM
9 killed in clashes in central Yemen

Yemeni government forces clashed with opposition fighters in the central city of Taiz on Wednesday, killing at least nine members of the pro-opposition militia and civilians, a medical official said.

Abdel-Raziq al-Gabri, a field hospital doctor, said security forces randomly shelled several neighborhoods in Taiz, where pro-opposition fighters had taken over a government building belonging to the Education Ministry in the city center.

Taiz has been a hotbed of Yemen's uprising that erupted eight months ago calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the impoverished country for more than 30 years.

Some 50 people were wounded in the fighting, including civilians, opposition fighters and members of Saleh's Republican Guards, according to al-Gabri and a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

The Defense Ministry said security forces moved in to clear buildings after the opposition took over government buildings and banks in Taiz.

The Yemen Observatory for Human Rights condemned the government's shelling of residential neighborhoods in Taiz and called on the international community to pressure Saleh's regime to end violence against protesters.

It said dozens of wounded people have no access to adequate health care to treat their wounds.

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"The city's hospitals, both public and private, are suffering from acute shortages of medicine," the rights group said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis also took to the streets in three other cities demanding that Saleh resign.

The embattled leader has agreed several times to a Gulf-brokered deal that would grant him immunity in exchange for handing over power to his deputy, only to back out at the last minute and refuse to sign the agreement.