Clashes Between Yemeni Forces, Militants Kill 30

Posted June 11th, 2011 at 7:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Yemeni defense officials said Saturday clashes between government forces and al-Qaida rebels in the southern Abyan province killed at least 30 people on both sides.

The defense ministry said 18 militants and nine soldiers were killed in fighting in the coastal town of Zinjibar. Witnesses said the fighting continued in the city, which had been seized by al-Qaida militants last month.

The ministry said three al-Qaida militants were killed in a separate incident in the province.

Yemen had been battling al-Qaida forces and separatists before anti-government unrest erupted earlier this year. On Friday, tens of thousands of Yemenis turned out for rival rallies across the country.

Loyalists cheered word that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was recovering in a Saudi hospital from serious injuries sustained during a rocket attack on his presidential compound last week.

Anti-government activists renewed calls for Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi to start the process of setting up a transitional government council. Deputy Information Minister Abou Janadi insisted that Hadi was already in charge of the country and disputed reports that Mr. Saleh's son, Ahmed, either had seized power or would move to do so.