Woman, girl killed in Yemen gov’t-opposition fighting

Reuters , Saturday 23 Jul 2011

A young woman and a girl were killed in Yemen during clashes between armed loyalists to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and pro-democracy protesters

A young woman and a girl were killed in Yemen during fighting between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents on Saturday, with both sides blaming the other.

The 25-year-old woman and the girl, aged 10, died after mortars hit a house in the southern city of Taiz, scene of frequent opposition demonstrations during six months of protests calling for an end to Saleh's three-decade rule.

The state news agency SABA blamed pro-opposition gunmen for the attack, while the website of the main opposition party said the Republican Guard, headed by a son of Saleh, was behind the shelling.

Saleh's tenacity has frustrated protesters who thought his time was up when he flew to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment last month following an assassination attempt, leaving impoverished Yemen in political limbo.

As the stalemate goes on, clashes have broken out between the Republican Guard and armed pro-opposition tribesmen who say they are defending the protesters.

Western powers and neighbouring oil giant Saudi Arabia, both targets of Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have tried to contain rising chaos by pressing Saleh to sign a Gulf-brokered plan to hand over power.

But he has backed out of the deal three times at the last minute and has vowed to return to Yemen.

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