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5 Killed as Yemeni Government Forces Shell Taiz


Two Yemeni army soldiers who defected stand guard as protesters march during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, December 1, 2011.

Two Yemeni army soldiers who defected stand guard as protesters march during a demonstration demanding the prosecution of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, December 1, 2011.

Shells and mortar fire rained down on the Yemeni city of Taiz on Thursday, killing five people and wounding at least 20.

Residents of several Taiz neighborhoods said government forces launched the attack early in the day. Medical officials confirmed the death toll and said some of those wounded were in critical condition.

Taiz residents have been protesting for several months, pushing for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. Saleh and Yemen's main political parties agreed earlier this month to a Gulf-sponsored plan for transferring power to his vice president and holding an early presidential election.

Earlier this week, Saleh announced a general amnesty for all those who "committed errors" during the country's 10-month political crisis. Saleh said the only exception to the amnesty would be those involved in an apparent attempt to assassinate him back in June.

The Gulf-sponsored plan allows for Saleh to remain president in an honorary capacity until the February 21 presidential election.

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

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