Fresh fighting breaks out in Yemen
The dynamic in Yemen's long-simmering uprising has significantly changed, with factions of the armed forces battling each other – threatening to turn the largely peaceful uprising into civil war.
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As fighting intensified some resident of Sanaa have begun to flee their homes to avoid being caught in the cross fire, reports Xinhua.Skip to next paragraph
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“One rebel of powerful tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar was killed, another five rebels were wounded in the heavy clashes and shelling that rocked the northern neighborhood of Hassaba district in downtown Sanaa on Thursday morning,” said a senior Yemeni official in a Xinhua article. “Also, five civilians were injured after their houses nearby the stronghold of al-Ahmar's residential compound were shelled by random mortars.”
Already there are reports of stray artillery shells hitting civilian homes in Sanaa, which have killed at least one person.
“We appeal to the international community and human rights organizations to intervene to protect our lives,” Mohammed al-Jamali, a resident of an area reportedly being hit with stray shells told Bloomberg.
The situation may see a steep rise in civilian causalities today as a youth group plans to march to from their encampment in Change Square to the area of the city that is home to Saleh’s residence. Organizers say they hope it will be peaceful and they have asked Ahmar’s soldiers not to accompany them to avoid provoking government forces, reports AFP.
“There will be an escalation during the coming two days. The youths will march... to Hedda Street, where the president's residence is,” Walid al-Amari, a youth activist told AFP.
During previous peaceful protests, government forces have shown little restraint or hesitancy when it comes to using force. Last week, at least three protesters were killed by sniper fire. Dozens of other unarmed protesters were killed in separate incidents last week, reports The New York Times.
Saleh has ruled Yemen for 33 years. The demonstrations, which began in January, mark the biggest challenge ever faced by his presidency. Reuters reports that as the situation continues to unravel, Sanaa is “now carved up into spheres of influence of government troops and pro-opposition forces.”