TAIZ, Yemen - At least nine people were killed in heavy fighting in Yemen's city of Taiz on Friday, witnesses and medical officials said, after a UN envoy flew to Sanaa in a new bid to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office under a Gulf peace plan.
They said at least 23 other people were wounded in the fighting between Republican Guards loyal to Saleh and tribal fighters based in the centre of Yemen's third largest city, located some 200 km (120 miles) south of Sanaa.
Witnesses said two children and one women were among the nine people killed mostly by shrapnel from exploding tank shells or mortar rounds fired at the al-Rawda and Zaid al-Moshki districts as well as Freedom Square, where demonstrators demanding an end to Saleh's 33-year-long rule usually gather to perform noon prayers every Friday.
The fighting broke out on Thursday after gunmen shot and critically wounded a soldier stationed at a government building. This was followed by the killing of a tribal leader allied with Saleh's government and the wounding of one of his bodyguards.