Shelling on opposition camp threatens ceasefire in Yemen

Shelling on opposition camp threatens ceasefire in Yemen

Azerbaijan , Baku, Sept. 21 / Trend A. Isgandarov /

Mortar shelling near the opposition camp in the Yemeni capital overnight threatened a fragile ceasefire between government forces and protesters after three days of violence, dpa reported.

Two mortars hit the end of a street where thousands of protesters were camping out to demand an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule, the Dubai-based al Arabiya channel reported.

"There were no casualties, but the sound of the exploding shells shook the area and prompted protesters to take shelter," the channel reported.

Late Tuesday, a ceasefire went into effect between the two sides to end three days of clashes killed more than 77 people, state-run Yemeni television reported.

The truce was negotiated by Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and mediated by several foreign envoys, including the US and British ambassadors in Sana'a.

Violence intensified in Yemen from Sunday after the opposition learned that Saleh had rejected a plan to hand over power. Saleh has been in Saudi Arabia since June, where he had surgery on injuries that he suffered in an assassination attempt.

Since February, millions of Yemenis have been demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years. Yemeni security forces use their weapons to disperse the anti-government actions. According to Western media, for two months the popular unrests in the country killed several hundreds people.

Despite months of protests, Saleh, who has been receiving treatment in neighbouring Saudi Arabia for the past three months for blast wounds he sustained in a bombing at the presidential palace, has so far refused to hand power to his deputy.

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