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Pro-Saleh Troops Fire Shells on Yemen Capital, Opposition Says

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Troops loyal to Yemen’s outgoing president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, fired shells on the capital of Sana’a, wounding at least three people, according to opposition forces.

Troops led by Saleh’s son Ahmed yesterday fired 10 shells, including four on the headquarters of an army division that defected to the uprising against Saleh in March, the division said in an e-mailed statement. The wounded included a female student at Sana’a University, which was hit in the attack, the army division said in the statement.

Tens of thousands of people protested yesterday at the residence of Yemen’s vice president, Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, demanding that Saleh and his relatives who command key security and military units be tried for the killing of protesters during the uprising.

Saleh’s political party said he won’t leave for medical treatment in the U.S. unless he is guaranteed respect worthy of his title. Saleh was supposed to leave for the U.S. for treatment of wounds he sustained during an assassination attempt in June.

In Syria, government forces killed 10 protesters across the country, Al-Jazeera reported, quoting unidentified opponents of the government.

The president of the Arab Parliament said the Arab League should either mobilize a military force to challenge Syria’s leadership or withdraw from the country and rely on the United Nations to deal with the issue, according to Al-Jazeera.

Only Two Options

“The Arab League has only two options: Either quit the Syrian profile totally and refer it to the United Nations and the Security Council, or form an Arabic military force to confront the Syrian regime,” Ali Salim Al-Diqbasi, president of the Arabic Parliament, said in a telephone interview from Kuwait.

Syrian government forces detained Wa’ad Mahfouz, an advocate for women’s rights, in the city of Harasta, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in e-mailed statement.

Iran’s currency dropped yesterday, a day after President Barack Obama signed a law imposing sanctions on the country’s central bank. The value of the Iranian rial dropped from 11,179 per U.S. dollar to 16,000 per U.S. dollar today, Al-Jazeera said.

Obama signed a defense spending bill on Dec. 31 that tightens sanctions on Iran by denying access to the U.S. financial system to any foreign bank that conducts business with the Central Bank of Iran.

Roadside Bomb

Iraq Finance Minister Rafie Al-Issawi survived an assassination attempt after a roadside bomb north of Baghdad exploded as he passed by in a vehicle, according to Al-Sumaria. Two of his guards were wounded in the blast, the news agency said.

In Egypt, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council ruling the country, moved forward the timeline for elections to the upper house of parliament, the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper reported today.

Tantawi said second-round runoffs for the election will take place on Feb. 22, 20 days earlier than originally scheduled, the newspaper reported. The upper house, the Shura Council, will convene on Feb. 28, Tantawi said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mohammed Hatem in Sana’a, Yemen, at;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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