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Terrorism & Security

Suspected Al Qaeda attack kills four in Yemen

The attack comes as Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh refuses to step down early, and US, UK warn citizens to leave country.

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The Al Qaeda attack in Yemen is apt to raise tensions within the government, as it deals with protesters demanding the resignation of Mr. Saleh, more jobs, and an end to government corruption. Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978, dug in on Saturday by rejecting a proposal to leave office before the end of the year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Saleh refuses to step down until his term ends in September 2013.

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"The peaceful and smooth transition of power is not carried out through chaos but through the will of the people expressed through elections," his office said. Bloomberg adds that the government's official news source reported that the plan was a "blatant overthrow of democracy and constitutional legitimacy," according to an unnamed government official.

Protesters share little enthusiasm for opposition plan

But even had the plan been accepted, there is little enthusiasm for it among protesters. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Thursday, when the plan was offered, that protesters want Saleh to leave immediately, and distrust the machinations of the government. "This is the people's revolution, not the parties'," says Sanaa University law student Tareq Abdul Aziz. "This [plan] is the political path, and we’ve been down it before. We don’t trust Saleh to keep his word and we will continue to protest until he is gone."

Nonetheless, Saleh has been under pressure within his own party, the General People's Congress, which has seen the defection of several members in the past week. Agence France-Presse reports that two members of parliament announced their resignations from the GPC on Friday in protest of the government's use of violence against protesters. They bring the total of GPC defectors over the past week to 13.

Human Rights Watch also condemned government violence against peaceful protesters Friday, accusing Yemeni security forces of facilitating attacks on citizens by pro-government gangs. HRW says that more than 30 protesters were injured in two such attacks last week.

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