The clashes between Presidential guards and the army units who have backed opposition groups and protesters asking Mr. Saleh to quit took place in the eastern Hadramout provincial town Mukalla today, Al Jazeera channel said.

Yemen’s elite republican guards loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh today clashed with army units supporting opposition protesters seeking the resignation of the embattled leader, amid growing fears of a civil war in the country.

The clashes between Presidential guards and the army units who have backed opposition groups and protesters asking Mr. Saleh to quit took place in the eastern Hadramout provincial town Mukalla today, Al Jazeera channel said.

Abdul Ghani al—Iryani, a political analyst, warned that that there was growing risk of “civil war” due to such clashes.

“With the military divided, the risk of confrontation and escalation is just too great. Right now it’s at a very low level, and it won’t start an all—out battle, but the risk is still there,” he was quoted as saying by Arab channel.

Reports quoting witnesses and medics said at least two army men, including a colonel was wounded were injured in the clashes, the second this week against Mr. Saleh who has ruled the country for the past three decades with an iron fist.

It said it was not clear whether the wounded colonel was on the government’s side or army units siding with the protesters.

Two soldiers were killed earlier this week in clashes between rival groups near a presidential palace in Mukalla.

Mr. Al—Iryani described Mr. Saleh’s offer to step down at the end of this year as “too little, too late”. “This was on the table some time ago, and the president rejected it,” he said.

“Right now, it is unworkable, because the military is divided, and the tanks are facing off in the streets and we cannot afford ... to have this kind of tension that could turn into civil war at any moment, just to maintain the pride of one man,” he said.

“The people are up against him, half the military is against him, the international community is against him and he needs to understand that he has to leave quickly,” he said.

According to Mr. Al—Iryani Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and western powers were currently working to “facilitate some kind of peaceful transition” of power.

As Yemen plunged close to civil war, the UAE authorities today seized a massive arms consignment of 16,000 guns bound for the strife torn nation.

The consignment worth USD 4.4 million were bound for Yemen’s northern province of Saada, a Shia rebels’ stronghold, Dubai Police Chief Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim said.

Six Arabs have been arrested by Dubai Police who seized the pistols from a warehouse where the shipment was hidden by the gang, Mr. Khalfan announced at a press conference, the Khaleej Times reported. (

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