At Least Two Dead in Escalating Clashes in Yemen’s Capital

Posted September 29th, 2011 at 9:40 am (UTC-5)
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At least two people have been killed in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, where fierce clashes have erupted between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and armed tribesmen who have sided with the opposition.

Witnesses reported explosions and heavy gunfire early Thursday in several areas of the city, with government troops battling followers of tribal leader Sheikh Sadek al-Ahmar.

Fighting has escalated over the past two weeks. On Wednesday, anti-government tribesmen shot down a government warplane near the capital.

Yemen's foreign minister has blamed the turmoil on the opposition's refusal to accept 2006 presidential results. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said Tuesday that Mr. Saleh is committed to pushing forward a long-stalled plan to transfer power to a deputy.

Mr. Saleh has agreed to the proposal three times since April, but has backed out each time before it could be signed.

He returned to Sana'a on Friday after a three-month stay in neighboring Saudi Arabia to recuperate from a June assassination attempt.