May 26 - Overnight gun battles in the Yemeni capital kill dozens as residents flee but thousands of anti-government protesters remain at their camp in Sanaa.
The sound of gunfire echoes through the night in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. Overnight gun battles have left dozens of Yemenis dead - and the loomimg prospect of civil war. The defence ministry says at least 28 people were killed in an explosion in an arms storage area in Sanaa. The most recent clashes were concentrated in Northern Sanaa where fighters loyal to tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar are attempting to take over government buildings. Witnesses told Reuters that Ahmar's mansion was severely damaged in the fighting. The streets may look quiet in the morning but hundreds are reportedly fleeing the capital, hoping to escape the violence. Thousands of protesters demanding the end of President Ali Abdulla Saleh's 33 year regime remain defiant in their camp in Sanaa however. They say their protest is peaceful - and blame Saleh for trying to drag the country into civil war. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTER, ABDULLAH MOHAMMAD, SAYING: "The people do not want a civil war, but the regime wants to drag the country into civil war. The people do not want civil war, but want to end the corrupt regime." SOUNDBITE (Arabic) PROTESTER, RAJA' SALEH, SAYING: "Yemen is heading towards civil war unless (President) Ali Abdullah Saleh signs the deal (on power transition), (then) the civil war might be avoided" The latest fighting erupted after President Ali Abdullah Saleh pulled out for the third time from a deal mediated by Gulf Arab neighbours for him to step down. Sunita Rappai, Reuters