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Yemen

Fighting in Sanaa as Saleh returns to Yemen

Reuters/Khaled Abdullah/Files

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Sanaa on Friday after more than three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Armed forces loyal to him were battling dissident troops in the capital as he arrived.

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Saleh's surprise return was announced by state television.

The 69-year-old was hospitalised in Riyadh on 4 June, a day after being wounded in a bomb attack on his Sanaa compound.

His return came as his forces were early Friday fighting dissidents loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar in Sanaa for a sixth straight day.

Almost 100 people have been killed since Sunday.

Witnesses said the fighting on Friday was concentrated in the capital's northern Al-Hasaba District, where gunmen loyal to powerful dissident tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar fought followers of Saghir bin Aziz, a tribesman allied to Saleh.

Most of the fighting since Sunday however has been in the centre of Sanaa, pitting Republican Guard troops commanded by Saleh's son Ahmed against Ahmar's dissidents.

A medic said Friday that during the night two protesters were killed when a shell smashed into Change Square, bringing the death toll of civilians and combatants since Sunday to at least 97.

Medics said hundreds more had been wounded, adding that most of the casualties were civilians.

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