Yemen's President vows no backing out as battle rages on

Posted By: Pti
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Yemen unrest
Sanaa, May 26: Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has vowed he would not step down or allow his impoverished nation to become a "failed state", even as urban combat between government troops and armed tribesmen engulfed parts of the capital.

Both sides raised the specter of civil war as the three-day death toll from fighting rose to at least 69 yesterday. The latest violence comes just days after a failed Arab mediation effort to end the three-month uprising and ease Saleh from power.

After nightfall, residents reported heavy shelling that appeared to come from outside the capital Sanaa, targeting residential areas. The crackle of heavy gunfire could be heard in different parts of the city.

In the Arhab region about 32 kilometres northwest of Sanaa, a brigade of Saleh's presidential guard clashed with local tribesmen an indication the fighting was spreading outside the capital. Six government soldiers were killed and 21 injured in that fight, an army official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under military rules. It was unclear if any tribesmen were killed.

So far, 20 government troops, and 46 tribesmen loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar of Yemen's powerful Hashid tribe have been killed bringing the death toll since Monday to at least 69. Scores more have been injured.


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