Specter of civil war: Shelling kills civilians in Yemen
SANAA - Shells fired into a popular shopping district of Yemen's capital killed two civilians and wounded another on Tuesday, witnesses and medical officials said.
The two shells slammed into Hayel Road late in the morning as the area was packed with shoppers and pedestrians, killing one man, the witnesses said.
A medic in Sanaa confirmed that one man died immediately and said that a second later succumbed to his wounds.
Hayel Road is in a part of the capital controlled by the first armoured division of the army, headed by the prominent General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar who defected in support of anti-regime protesters.
Control of Sanaa is divided among three armed groups -- General Ahmar's division, loyalists of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and armed tribesman led by powerful tribal chief Sadeq al-Ahmar.
The attack is the second deadly one of its kind in the capital during the past three days.
On Sunday, a seven-year-old girl was killed by a rocket that struck a school in central Sanaa.
In Yemen's second city of Taez, elite Republican Guard troops randomly shelled the city centre on Tuesday, wounding three civilians, medics and residents said.
In the restive southern city of Zinjibar, meanwhile, four soldiers were killed and six were wounded in overnight battles between the army and suspected Al-Qaeda militants, a military official said.
Three of the militants were also killed, a local official said.
Fears have mounted about Al-Qaeda taking advantage of Sanaa's weakening authority in the face of nearly nine months of deadly protests against President Saleh's regime to bloster its presence in Yemen's south.
Hundreds of militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) group overran Zinjibar, Abyan's capital, in May and the city and adjacent towns have since been the scene of bitter fighting with the army.
Saleh, in power for 33 years, has so far refused to resign despite the wave of popular protests that has swept the country since January demanding he step down.
The UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, who arrived in the country last month to try to resolve the deteriorating political crisis, left Sanaa on Monday without success.