WASHINGTON - The US government is trying to ratchet up pressure on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to reach a deal with the opposition that would ultimately lead to his handing over power, US officials said on Monday.
A partner in US efforts to combat the militant group Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Saleh is the latest Arab leader to face a groundswell of popular demonstrations seeking to end his 32-year rule in the impoverished country.
The violence in Yemen has picked up in recent days. Police and armed men in civilian clothes opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the Yemeni cities of Taiz and Hudaida on Monday, witnesses said.
In Taiz, south of the capital, Sanaa, police shot at protesters trying to storm the provincial government building, killing at least 15 and wounding 30, hospital doctors said.