Fierce clashes between Yemen Army, tribesmen

Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, has been receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia since June.

Last Updated: Aug 01, 2011, 21:37 PM IST

Sanaa: Fierce fighting broke out today
between Yemen`s army and tribesmen who back anti-regime
protesters in the strife-torn country`s second city of Taez,
witnesses said.

The battles began early in the morning and carried on
intermittently during the day in a suburb north of Taez which
links the city of four million residents to the tribal areas
around it, said the witnesses.

The tribesmen destroyed an army tank and took control
of another as fighter jets overflew the area, they said.

Last week, a brief ceasefire between pro-opposition
armed tribesmen and security forces had collapsed on Thursday
when clashes resumed, leaving one policeman dead.

Tribesmen, who say their aim is to safeguard
protesters who demand President Ali Abdullah Saleh stand down,
have battled security forces loyal to the leader in Taez since

Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, has been
receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia since early June for
wounds sustained in a bomb blast at his palace.

Protesters have since January been calling for Saleh
to quit office.

In a statement yesterday, Saleh reiterated his appeal
for dialogue in a statement for Yemenis on the beginning of
the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

"There is no alternative to dialogue. This is the only
way civilised people follow to achieve change and reform," he
said in the message carried by state news agency Saba.

He urged all political forces in Yemen to abandon
violence in the hope that Ramadan will return peace and
stability to the country.

Saleh`s opponents have been calling for him to be
prevented from returning to power.

On Saturday, influential Yemeni tribal leaders
announced the creation of what they have named the "Alliance
of Yemeni Tribes," a coalition to bolster six months of
anti-Saleh protests.

On July 16, a group of protesters had announced the
creation of a 17-member "presidential council" to run Yemen if
Saleh quits.

Saleh has repeatedly called for dialogue as a means
for resolving his country`s political turmoil, the last of
which was on July 18.