Friday, November 11, 2011
Very heavy shelling kills at least 17 in Yemeni city of Taiz
Horror in a hospital in Taiz where dead and wounded are being brought in. The little girl who is completely traumataized shouts: ''I don't want to die.'
At least 17 people were killed in heavy clashes in the Yemeni city of Taiz Friday, a day after a U.N. envoy began a new mission to push President Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit under a Gulf peace plan.
Witnesses and medical staff said at least 30 people were injured when Saleh's Republican Guards shelled some districts in the city.
Tribal fighters belonging to the opposition and using automatic rifles and shoulder-held rocket launchers killed two soldiers and wounded seven, according to a Defense Ministry statement. Witnesses said they also destryed an armored vehicle in al-Hasab district.
Residents said it was some of the most intense shelling since the uprising began in February. They said shells fired by government forces landed on houses across the city, killing people inside their homes. Hospital officials said an eight-year-old girl died when a shell crashed into her house in the al-Hasab neighborhood in western Taiz. Her mother was critically wounded. Four women and two children also died in intense shelling of the al-Rawda and Zaid al-Moshki districts in central Taiz. Also Freedom Square came under heavy fire, s preventing demonstrators from holding their weekly Friday noon prayers.
Saleh's forces later shelled al-Rawda Hospital, where victims of earlier fighting had been taken, killing one patient and wounding five.Witnesses said patients were moved to the basement after the shells damaged the third and fourth floors. "The hospital was hit by nine shells, and the third and fourth floors have been damaged," one witness told Reuters.
In the capital Sana'a, tens of thousands of anti-Saleh protesters attended prayers on a main road. Some demanded the president be tried for what they called his crimes against the Yemeni people. Elsewhere in Sana'a some thousands of Saleh supporters held separate prayers. There were no reports of violence in Sana'a.
The fighting cast a shadow on a new mission by U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar who arrived in Sana'a Thursday to encourage "an inclusive transition process that meets the needs and aspirations of all Yemenis," a spokesman said. Benomar would report back to U.N secretary genetral Ban Ki Moon, who is to inform the U.N. Security Council about the implementation of a resolution adopted last month that called on Saleh to accept a Gulf-brokered plan under which he would step down.