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Pro-Saleh troops ‘attack Yemen defense ministry’

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Sanaa (AFP) - Troops from Yemen’s elite Republican Guard force, led by the son of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, on Tuesday attacked the headquarters of the defence ministry but were repelled, witnesses said.

The forces laid siege to the ministry in Sanaa before attacking it with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades, witnesses told AFP. The attack comes a week after new president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi ordered a restructuring of army forces, reducing the number of units under the command of rival chiefs including Saleh’s son.

Hundreds of members of the force led by General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh blocked the roads leading to the ministry in central Sanaa, said witnesses. They said the forces, who had come from the main base of the Republican Guard in Sawad, south of the capital, exchanged fire with police on their way to the ministry.

Government troops later managed to repel the assailants, arresting a number of them and besieging others in buildings close to the ministry, witnesses said.

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