Deaths reported in southern Yemeni city


Six protesters said to be killed in shooting by security forces in Taiz amid heightened political tensions

Anti-government demonstrators have been holding protests for weeks in several cities across Yemen [AFP]

Up to six people are reported to have died in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz after security forces there fired at protesters and tried to storm the Liberty Square, where hundreds of anti-government demonstrators have been camped for days.
The security forces storming the area also set fire to some tents of the protesters and fired water cannons and tear gas at the crowd, Al Jazeera correspondents said early on Monday.
Around 100 protesters were reportedly wounded as a result of the crackdown on Sunday, Mohamed al-Qadhi, a Yemeni journalist, told Al Jazeera by phone from the capital, Sanaa.
“Security forces and armed government supporters have managed to storm the centre of the protest site and they have set fire to some of the tents of the protesters,” he said.
“The clashes have been going on. I have spoken to some protesters there and they said that some soldiers were storming the area … two or three officers who have joined the protesters.”
Sanaa explosions

The violence in Taiz came as seven explosions were heard north of Sanaa on Sunday, according to local residents.

“There are a number of explosions, heavy explosions, that have shaken the area,” al-Qadhi said.

“We have also heard heavy gunfire exchanged between the two sides. We cannot exactly figure out where the explosions have taken place.”

Sunday’s explosions were followed by rattles of machine-gun fire in the Hasaba district, where forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the long-serving Yemeni president, have battled members of the powerful Hashed tribe in recent days.

Saleh has refused to sign a deal, mediated by Gulf Arab states, to start a transition of power aimed at averting civil war in Yemen.

Separately, rocket attacks by government forces were reported in the tribal area of Arhab in south Yemen where fighting has taken place in the past, Al Jazeera’s correspondents said.

People were fleeing the area, but there were no reports of casualties as yet.

Earlier on Sunday, Al Jazeera received reports from residents of up to 300 fighters entering the southern coastal town of Zinjibar and taking over “everything”. The fighters were alleged to be al-Qaeda members.

Opposition leaders accused Saleh of allowing Zinjibar, on the Gulf of Aden, to fall to al-Qaeda and allied fighters in order to raise alarm in the region that would in turn translate to support for him.

Yemen borders Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and sits along a shipping lane through which about three million barrels of oil pass dai

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