Yemen violence escalates after injured President's return

 

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The Independent Online

Soldiers killed two tribal fighters and wounded 18 anti-government protesters yesterday in the latest clashes in a week of bloodshed that has raised fears of all-out civil war.

The fighting came hours before President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has clung to power despite eight months of protests, was due to give his first speech since he staged a surprise return to Sanaa on Friday.

He had been recuperating in Riyadh after an assassination attempt in June. During negotiations mediated by Gulf states, Mr Saleh has repeatedly promised to step down, only to change his mind.

For the first time in six days of battles, the clashes spread outside the capital. Two pro-opposition fighters were killed by army shelling in the mountainous outskirts of Sanaa. In the city, soldiers used live rounds against thousands of unarmed protesters singing and chanting "God is great" and "Freedom" as they marched. REUTERS

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