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At Least 19 Killed in Yemen Fighting

Female Yemeni protesters burn veils during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Yemen, October 26, 2011.

Violence in Yemen has killed at least 19 people, despite a cease-fire declared by the government and forces loyal to a dissident general.

Medical officials said Wednesday the victims of clashes in the cities of Sana'a and Taiz included civilians, tribal fighters and government soldiers.

In the southern city of Taiz, shelling by government troops killed two people, including a woman.

In the capital, Sana'a, security forces fired on protesters calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. Government troops also clashed with dissident soldiers. At least 40 people were wounded.

Hundreds of women in the Yemeni capital set fire to full-body Islamic veils to protest the government's bloody crackdown on protesters. Some held signs saying, "Saleh the butcher is killing women" and "Who protects Yemeni women from the crimes of the thugs?"

The cease-fire was announced late Tuesday but was quickly broken by gunfire and explosions. Several previous cease-fire agreements have failed to hold.

The U.S. State Department says President Saleh told the U.S. ambassador in Sana'a Tuesday he is committed to a Gulf Cooperation Council plan that would have him step down amid political violence.

This echoed Mr. Saleh's statement Monday when he welcomed a U.N. Security Council resolution urging him to sign the deal to leave office. The president said he is ready for talks to put a deal in motion.

A Gulf Cooperation Council proposal offers Mr. Saleh immunity from prosecution if he hands power to a deputy within 30 days. On at least three occasions, Mr. Saleh has refused to sign the plan, saying he first wants international guarantees about a timetable for its implementation.

Production is set to resume Wednesday at a gas pipeline in Yemen that was attacked by suspected militants. Earlier this month, officials suspended operations at the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden after an explosion damaged the facility.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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