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Yemen clashes claim 24 lives

Twenty-four people have been killed in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, as fierce clashes between tribesmen and supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh intensify.

Yemeni state media confirmed the casualties on Thursday, AFP reported.

Yemeni aviation sources said the clashes in the Arhad district, north of Yemen’s main international airport, disrupted flights. However, the airport director, Naji al-Marqab, said schedules were back to normal.

According to tribal sources, at least 12 members of the Yemen’s Republican Guard were among the casualties.

President Saleh ordered the detention of Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar — a son of the late leader of the Hashid tribe — and his nine brothers on Thursday, according to Yemen’s defense ministry.

Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, succeeded his father, Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar, after he died in 2007.

“The president has ordered the arrest of the sons of al-Ahmar to bring them to justice for armed rebellion,” the ministry stated.

The clashes in the Yemeni capital have left more than 70 people killed since Monday, when the violence escalated after Saleh refused to sign a power transition deal brokered by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC).

President Saleh also said on Wednesday that he is prepared to escalate the campaign against anti-regime tribesmen who are calling for his immediate ouster.

Reports say that tribal fighters have occupied 16 ministries and other government institutions, while Saleh’s forces are using the Interior Ministry as their front-line base.

Some Yemeni military units also defected to the opposition on Wednesday. One breakaway unit trucked in stones to block streets in order to prevent government troops from moving in heavy weapons.

At least 300 protesters have been killed and many others injured during clashes with riot police and armed forces loyal to the Yemeni president since the anti-regime demonstrations began in late January, according to local reports.

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