Deadly clashes in southern Yemen

At least four people – and possibly as many as seven – died yesterday in clashes between southern separatists and security forces in southern Yemen. Two of the dead were said to be soldiers.

Shooting broke out at a rally in Ataq (Shabwa province) which was reportedly attended by about 1,000 people. Reports:BBC
Yemen PostUPIXinhua.

In the capital, Sanaa, about 200 took part in an anti-Iranian demonstration chanting "No to the plot of Persian expansion" and "Yemen will remain free and independent". Reuterssuggests that this demonstration had official approval. The government accuses Iranian elements of backing the Houthi rebellion in the north of the country.

Yesterday, the interior ministry announced the closure of the Iranian hospital and clinic in Sanaa "because of lack of transparency of their accounts and ... Iranian financial support to these two institutions."

On October 13, the hospital, which employed 120 staff (eight of them Iranian) was sealed off by security forces amid claims that it had links with the Houthi rebels. A government spokesman later denied the move against the hospital had anything to do with politics but said it owed the Endowments Ministry 27 million riyals ($130,000) in unpaid rent for the building.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 26 November 2009.