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Two civilians killed in clashes in Yemen's capital: official

12-20-2011 10:40 BJT Special Report:Yemen’s Saleh Signs Power Transfer Deal |

SANAA, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- At least two civilians were killed Monday in Yemen's capital when fresh clashes flared between troops loyal to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition militia, hampering process of removing roadblocks in war-torn Hassaba district, officials and witnesses said.

"Two civilians were killed during two-hour shooting between armed tribesmen of opposition powerful tribal leader Sadiq al- Ahmar and security forces guarding the headquarters of the Interior Ministry in Hassaba," a security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, accusing al-Ahmar's militia of firing first towards the main gate of the ministry.

Witnesses Motahar al-Yazidy and Khalid Abdu Ali said the shooting took place Monday afternoon while the military committee which was tasked to remove checkpoints and barricades of the rival forces, was on its way to begin its works in Hassaba.

The committee, headed by Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was scheduled to start on Monday to remove warring forces from fortifications established during the 11-month-old unrest from the streets of Hassaba.

The clashes in Hassaba was the second of its kind in three days after fighting on Saturday killed two policemen guarding the Interior Ministry, according to the officials.

An official of the Interior Ministry told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "the committee then informed the ministry that it decided to postpone its works in Hassaba because of the shooting."

The committee which was established as part of implementing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative for transferring power from Saleh peacefully, began its task on Saturday and removed rival military presence from the west and southeast of Sanaa.

Saleh and the opposition leaders signed the UN-backed initiative in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 23. The deal was designed to end Yemen's 11-month-long unrest which has left thousands of people dead and brought the impoverished Arab state on the verge of a civil war and economic collapse.

Under the deal, early presidential elections are set to be held on Feb. 21, 2012, while Saleh will retain the title of honorary president for 90 days before his resignation and will enjoy immunity from prosecution afterwards.

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Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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