Yemen officials: 38 killed in capital fighting

May 24, 2011 - 4:27 PM

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni security and medical officials said Tuesday 38 people have been killed in a day of fighting between powerful anti-regime tribes and President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces.

A security official said 14 soldiers were killed in the fighting and 20 others were missing. A hospital official said 24 tribesmen were killed. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Saleh appealed for a cease-fire.

Fighters from Yemen's most powerful tribes and soldiers exchanged fire in the capital Tuesday, using artillery shells, mortars in pitched street battles. This was a sharp escalation in the uprising that is threatening to become a militia-led revolt after diplomatic efforts failed to get Saleh to step down.

Up to now, protesters filled the street with hundreds of thousands in demonstrations, demanding that Saleh resign after more than three decades in power. After a mediation effort by Yemen's powerful neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council, backed by the U.S., failed this week, fighting erupted between tribes opposed to Saleh and security forces.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni security and medical officials say 38 people have been killed in fighting between powerful anti-regime tribes and President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces.

A security official said 14 soldiers were killed in the fighting and 20 others were missing. A hospital official said 24 tribesmen were killed. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Fighters from Yemen's most powerful tribes and soldiers exchanged fire in the capital Tuesday, using artillery shells, mortars and pitched street battles. This is a sharp escalation in the uprising that is threatening to become a militia-led revolt after mediation failed to get Saleh to step down from office.

Saleh appealed for a cease-fire.