Thousands flee Yemeni capital as battles rage

Al Jazeera reports:

Thousands of residents are fleeing Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, as fighting between opposition tribesmen and loyalist troops of president Ali Abdullah Saleh rages on.

Much of the fighting, which began late on Wednesday night, occurred in the Hasaba district of northern Sanaa, where Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the powerful leader of the Hashed tribal confederation, has his base.

Yemen’s defence ministry said the Special Forces, headed by Saleh’s son Ahmed, have been deployed to “liberate” buildings held by al-Ahmar’s fighters.

Medics in Sanaa told the AFP news agency that 15 people had been killed in the overnight clashes, including a seven-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet.

They have yet to receive word on casualties from Thursday’s fighting as ambulance crews were unable to access the neighbourhood.

Hakim Al Masmari, editor of the Yemen Post, told Al Jazeera that an estimated 2,000 additional fighters “armed and ready to fight” have entered Sanaa to reinforce the Hashed confederation.

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