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Saleh loyalists attack demonstrators

December 24, 2011

SANAA, Dec 23: Loyalists of Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday attacked demonstrators gathered south of the capital calling for his trial.

Further south, in Abyan province, seven soldiers were killed late on Thursday near Zinjibar in an ambush by Al Qaeda suspects, a military source said, adding three militants also died in subsequent fighting.

The loyalists, some of whom were armed, attacked a group of 2,000 demonstrators in Hizyaz, a suburb south of Sanaa, before they could join a procession headed for the capital, said Mondher al Asbahi, a member of a Taez youth group organising the rally.

'Dozens of demonstratorswere wounded, struck by stones, and one was hit by a bullet,' said Mr Asbahi.

The 'March for Life' procession, which kicked off in the southwestern city of Taez, has amassed tens of thousands along the 270km road to Sanaa. It is likely to reach the capital on Saturday, he said.

Elsewhere, 10 people were killed in a sixth night of clashes pitting militants linked to Al Qaeda against troops trying to retake Zinjibar, Abyan's provincial capital.

'A military vehicle was ambushed by members of Al Qaeda east of Zinjibar and seven soldiers died,' a military source said. 'Three extremists were killed' in a subsequent gunfight,' the source added.-AFP