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Thousands Protest in Yemen


Yemeni anti-government demonstrators holds placards during a protest under the slogan 'Friday of a Civil State' in Sana'a , July 15, 2011

Yemeni anti-government demonstrators holds placards during a protest under the slogan 'Friday of a Civil State' in Sana'a , July 15, 2011

Yemen's security forces clashed with opposition tribesmen near the southern city of Taiz overnight and thousands turned out after Friday prayers to protest continuing political paralysis in the country.

The fighting near Taiz began late Thursday and continued through the night between forces loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and tribesmen allied with demonstrators demanding he leave office.

At least three people were killed including a colonel and two companions during an ambush Friday morning.

Meanwhile, crowds thronged the capital Sana'a, continuing to demand that Saleh resign. He is in Saudi Arabia recovering from an attack last month on his presidential compound.

On Thursday, Yemeni security officials said U.S. drones and fighter jets attacked suspected Islamist militants in the southern province of Abyan. killing at least seven fighters in a police station they had taken over.

The airstrikes took place before dawn in the town of Mudiya. Dozens of Islamist fighters rushed to the scene to evacuate the wounded and search for the dead.

The New York Times also cites U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as confirming the strikes, which are rarely acknowledged publicly.

The attacks targeted a region where radical groups believed to have links to al-Qaida are exploiting Yemen's political upheaval to take over entire towns.

The United States provides military aid to Yemen in exchange for Yemeni cooperation in fighting al-Qaida militants based in lawless parts of the impoverished country.

The militants, some linked to al-Qaida, have taken control of several towns in southern Yemen in recent months, as government forces confront a five-month-old opposition uprising in other parts of the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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