Three people killed in Yemen

At least five civilians and three soldiers were killed in the protest hotbed city of Taiz, and the head of a new government meant to prevent civil war in Yemen said a week-old political pact might unravel if the bloodshed went on.

A deal to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power has yet to defuse 10 months of violent unrest over the leader’s fate and the political future of country.

Yemen’s Gulf Arab neighbours and their US ally hope the deal can reverse a drift toward chaos on the doorstep of the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and stop al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch gaining a foothold near Red Sea shipping routes.

In Taiz in south Yemen, government forces shot dead three civilians, and a fresh battle between government troops and gunmen backing protesters killed two people trapped in their homes during fighting, protest leaders and medical workers said.

Three government troops were killed in what a security source called an attack by fighters tied to the opposition and the Islamist Islah party, which has backed the protests.

Witnesses said street battles with heavy weapons including tanks raged near a police headquarters in the centre of Taiz, and activist Tawfiq al-Shaabi said dozens of families had fled artillery and small arms fire in western areas of the city.

( / 02.12.2011)

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