Yemeni government forces attacked an opposition protest camp in Sanaa overnight after President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Yemen from a three-month absence and at least 17 protesters and soldiers were killed, witnesses and protesters said on Saturday.
Hundreds fled from the midnight raid on the “Change Square” camp and mortar and sniper fire continued through the morning.
A Reuters correspondent saw flashes of light and loud explosions in the area, the heart of an uprising where thousands have camped for eight months calling for Saleh to quit power.
Protesters said the attacking forces included the elite Republican Guard and Central Security forces. Interior minister Muttahar al-Masri however denied that a raid took place, blaming the gunfire on “extremists”.