Continued unrest in areas outside of Yemeni state control will prove to be a challenge for the new government in Sana’a.
Fighting escalated between al Houthi rebels and Salafist fighters in Damaj in Sa’ada governorate. Eyewitnesses reported that Salafists took control of checkpoints and military positions held by the al Houthis. At least three al Houthi rebels and four Salafist fighters were killed in the fighting Thursday. A local source reported that Red Cross food assistance recently came through the main al Houthi-controlled checkpoint, known as Khaneq.
Al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a position held by the 201st armored brigade in Wadi Hassan east of Zinjibar Thursday. An army officer reported that 15 militants, including a Saudi and an Iraqi, and four soldiers were killed. Tribesmen killed two suspected al Qaeda militants in Mudia in north Abyan governorate. The suspects, Abdullah Umeir and Shokri Shaher, were attempting to enter the town. Yemeni soldiers in Abyan repelled an al Qaeda-linked militant attack on an army post, killing nine of the militants, and a firefight east of Zinjibar killed a Yemeni soldier Wednesday night. At least four soldiers were injured, according to a medic.
Opposition tribesmen and Yemeni troops are withdrawing from Taiz, according to an official. A new committee in Taiz was in the process of clearing roadblocks and of removing forces from buildings. Eyewitnesses reported that tanks and armored vehicles have withdrawn from Gurrah Mountain and Thawra Hospital.
Tens of thousands of people turned out to protest the new government and call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s trial. Protesters remained camped in Tagheer (Change) Square in Sana’a, in Hurriyah (Freedom) Square in Taiz, and elsewhere throughout the country. The new government announced by interim Prime Minister Mohammed Salam Basendwah will be sworn-in Saturday.