Middle East News
Al-Qaeda attack kills three, large protests mount in Yemen
Apr 29, 2011, 15:22 GMT
Cairo/Sana'a - Two soldiers and a civilian were reported shot dead Friday in an al-Qaeda attack on a military checkpoint in city of Zunjubar in Yemen's southern province of Abyan.
A local source said the attack was carried out Friday morning by gunmen with the Yemeni wing of al-Qaeda.
The attack comes a day after al-Qaeda militants raided the a security office in Abyan, injuring one soldier, said the security official.
Meanwhile, at least one million people protested across Yemen on Friday, heeding calls by opposition activists for protests against a proposed deal for the president's departure from office and transfer of power.
Activists, who have for months been calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, have rejected the deal that was brokered by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and accepted by Saleh and Yemen's political opposition.
Under the deal, Saleh, his aides and family would be guaranteed immunity from prosecution. Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, would also remain on as head of the ruling party.
A transfer of power to his vice president would take place within 30 days of the signing, followed by presidential elections within two months and the formation of a unity government.
The signing is provisionally scheduled for Monday.
Activists preparing for the 'Day for Martyrs' demonstrations after Friday prayers told the German Press Agency dpa that they would not stop demonstrating until Saleh is tried for the deaths of over 100 people since the protests began in February.
One of the protesters, Abdul-Nasir Ahmed, told dpa that the opposition's acceptance of the deal did not represent the wishes of those seeking Saleh's immediate ouster.
Thousands of pro-Saleh supporters are expected to gather for a rally on Friday, which they dubbed a 'Day of Constitutional Legitimacy.'
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that Saleh 'cannot use his promised immunity from prosecution as a carte blanche to tolerate attacks on peaceful protesters.'
On Wednesday, 12 protesters were killed and hundreds injured in the capital Sana'a when security forces and snipers opened fire at a demonstration. Medical sources and witnesses said the victims were shot in the head and chest.
Five soldiers and a protester were killed in clashes in the southern provinces of Aden and Abyan this week.
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