SANAA - A truce that ended days of street fighting between Yemeni tribesmen and security forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh has broken down, a government official said on Tuesday.

The government and the supporters of Sadiq Ahmar, the leader of the powerful Hashad tribe, accused each other of breaking the truce and bringing the embattled country closer to a civil war.

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"The ceasefire agreement has ended," a government official told Reuters when asked whether an overnight exchange of fire between the two sides had broken the fragile truce.

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Rebels loyal to Ahmar regained control of Yemen's ruling party building in the Hasaba district of the capital Sanaa where much of the fighting took place.

The violence, pitting Saleh loyalist forces against Hashed tribesmen has been the bloodiest since pro-democracy unrest erupted in January and was caused by Saleh's refusal to sign a power transfer deal.

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