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Rebels capture Yemeni city

world Updated: Jun 08, 2011 01:51 IST

Yemen’s second-largest city Taez has mostly fallen to armed dissidents, a tribal leader said, as protesters in Sanaa called for a “millions march” to thwart plans by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who suffered 40% burns in a rocket attack on his compound last week, to return to power.

Fighting also raged between Yemeni troops and suspected al Qaeda gunmen on Tuesday at the gates of Zinjibar, the southern city which had fallen under the jihadists’ control, killing at least 25 people.

Armed dissidents seized control of most of Taez following clashes with troops loyal to Saleh, a top tribal chief said.

“I consider Taez to have fallen under the control” of the dissidents, Sheikh Hammoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi, the head of the tribal council in Taez told AFP by telephone.

Meanwhile, Washington urged President Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand over power peacefully. “We are calling for a peaceful and orderly transition,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday, adding that this would be in the best interests of the Yemeni people.