Rival Rallies Unfold in Politically-Charged Yemen

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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Rival rallies are unfolding across Yemen where supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh are cheering his reported recovery from injuries while opponents are calling for the formation of a transitional government without him.

Mr. Saleh's loyalists are celebrating word from Saudi Arabia that the president has been moved out of intensive care there. He is recovering in the neighboring country from facial and burn injuries sustained in an attack a week ago on his presidential compound,

Meanwhile, anti-government protesters are pushing Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi to set up a transitional government council during Mr. Saleh's absence. The president handed power to Mr. Hadi before his departure last weekend. Opponents have for months been calling for Mr. Saleh's immediate departure from office.

Meanwhile, officials in Yemen say an air raid on suspected Islamic militants in the southern part of the country has killed at least three people.

Few details of the attack near the town of Jaar were immediately available. One official told the French News Agency the strike killed three relatives of an al-Qaida militant.

Suspected al-Qaida gunmen last month seized the nearby city of Zinjibar after fighting in which scores of soldiers were killed. But troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh have launched a counter-attack to try to regain control of the city.

In a separate incident, suspected separatists in southern Yemen attacked a military checkpoint. At least three Yemeni soldiers and two militants were killed in the skirmish.