SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni troops loyal to the country’s embattled president attacked the camp of a senior military commander-turned-defector in the capital Sanaa on Friday and an ensuing gunbattle left at least three soldiers dead, military officials said.
The clash between the rival forces took the turmoil gripping Yemen to a new level, even as anti-government demonstrators rallied Friday in several cities and towns across the country pressing their demand for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office.
In the southern town of Ibb, security forces opened fire on a funeral procession for a protester killed there the day before, leaving three demonstrators dead and scores wounded, according to a field doctor. And seven soldiers died as gunmen ambushed troops elsewhere on Friday.
In the clash in Sanaa, Republican Guards, who are controlled by Saleh’s son, descended on the camp of troops loyal to Saleh’s opponent and former confidante, Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar. A military doctor and an officer from the defectors’ camp said the dead in Bani Mattar, a western Sanaa suburb, included two of Saleh’s troops and a soldier from al-Ahmar’s 1st Armored Division, which defected to the side of the opposition in March.
The military officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The clash signaled a new development in Yemen, where more than 150 people have died in three months of unrest, inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The army defectors have been in control of western Sanaa, including the square which has been the epicenter of the anti-Saleh protests in the capital. The Republican Guard, meanwhile, generally secured the area around the presidential palace and southern Sanaa.
Mubarak’s wife in hospital after arrest
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Suzanne Mubarak, wife of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, was hospitalized in the intensive care unit Friday after suffering severe chest pains upon hearing the news that she had been ordered detained on corruption allegations.
The director of the hospital said she had a heart problem and was in unstable condition at the hospital in this Red Sea resort community, where her husband also has been hospitalized.
The detention order came a day after the 70-year-old former first lady was questioned for the first time since she was accused of taking advantage of her husband’s position to enrich herself. The Mubaraks and other members of the former regime have been the subject of legal efforts to bring them to trial since the ex-president was ousted on Feb. 11 after a popular uprising.
A security official said Mrs. Mubarak will remain in the hospital for the time being but was expected to be moved to a women’s prison in Cairo.
Report: 7 Algerian soldiers killed by militants
ALGIERS, Algeria — An Algerian newspaper has reported that militants have attacked a military barracks in northeast Algeria, leading to a gunfight that left seven soldiers and three attackers dead.
El Watan daily says on its Web site a group of militants attacked the Tizrarana barracks about 25 miles west of the city of Jijel and seized automatic weapons. A soldier was missing and two others injured.
The attack Friday came a week after a bombing attack on a military convoy killed five soldiers in a town 15 miles east of Jijel.
As with most such cases, authorities declined to comment.
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has been active in Algeria. It has roots in the North African country’s Islamic insurgency that started in 1992 and left more than 200,000 dead.