Heavy clashes erupt around Yemen's interior ministry

Updated: 2012-07-31 19:22


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SANAA - Heavy clashes erupted between security troops guarding the Yemeni interior ministry and gunmen wearing security uniform early Tuesday in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, police sources said, adding that several people were injured in the fighting.

"Heavy clashes erupted after gunmen wearing security uniform entered the headquarters of the interior ministry in central Sanaa," a rescue police officer at the scene told Xinhua.

"More than 300 gunmen entered the interior ministry building overnight," he said. "They were recruited and sent from the defected military base in western Sanaa, most of whom were belonging to a Shi'ite rebel group based in the northern Saada province," he added.

Another police official told Xinhua that "part of the gunmen were sent by a relative of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh."

All roads leading to the clash area were blocked by the rescue police forces and armed tribesmen led by Sadiq al-Ahmar. According to witnesses, militants loyal to al-Ahmar have been deployed around the interior ministry.

Several ambulances carrying injured soldiers were seen coming out from the clash zone and a nearby security camp, which is responsible for guarding the ministry.

Meanwhile, about eight armored vehicles from the central security forces were seen heading to the interior ministry, while the sound of heavy machine-guns was still rocking the area.