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13 opposition militants killed in northern Yemen: official

(Xinhua)

11:12, August 16, 2011

SANAA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 13 opposition militants were killed in a new wave of fighting with government troops in Yemen's flashpoint district of Arhab, northeast of Sanaa province late Monday, local security officials said.

Local opposition officials said the Republican Guard's tanks invaded the villages of Shaab area of Arhab, where the government suspected that the militants were shelling the Republican Guards' military bases.

A security official said the battles took place around several villages of Arhab, a key stronghold of the opposition fighters who back protesters' demand of ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"Some 13 opposition fighters were killed and several others were wounded during the ongoing fighting," he said on condition of anonymity.

The volatile district, about 60 km northeast of Sanaa, has been the front line of almost daily clashes between the opposition fighters backed by defected army and Saleh's elite Republican Guards since late May, which complicated the ongoing political crisis in Yemen.

The Defense Ministry said the opposition militants were seeking to capture the Samaa military base, the Sanaa International Airport and northern entrances of Sanaa.

Arhab's clashes have left dozens from both sides dead, including civilians, and forced hundreds of villagers to flee the area after their houses and farms were destroyed.

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