Fierce Fighting as Clashes in Southern Yemen Kill 19

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 8:30 am (UTC-5)
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Clashes in Yemen's south have killed at least 19 people, as the violence and unrest that has engulfed the nation for months shows no signs of ending.

Yemeni forces clashed with Islamist militants in the southern city of Zinjibar Tuesday, leaving 15 people dead more than a week after the militants seized control of the city.

Fresh fighting also erupted in Yemen's second-largest city, Taiz. Witnesses heard several explosions and gunfire in the city as army tanks fired on gunmen. The violence killed at least four people.

The fighting comes amid increased calls for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to accept a peace deal put forward by the Gulf Cooperation Council that would end his 33 years in power.

Mr. Saleh is currently receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for wounds suffered during a rocket attack on his compound last week.

Yemen's acting leader, Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi, was quoted as saying Mr Saleh is “making a strong recovery” and will return to the country within days. But there have been suggestions the Saudi government may block his return.

At the Saudi-Yemeni border, a man trying to cross into Yemen killed two Saudi border guards Tuesday. Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry says the man trying to cross the border also was killed.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since the popular uprising against Mr. Saleh began in January.