WRAPUP 4-Escalating military conflict kills six in Yemen capital

Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:18pm GMT

(Amends editing credit)

* Two killed when rockets hit protester camp in Sanaa

* Street battles kill four soldiers; 3-day death toll reaches 62

* U.N., GCC mediators in desperate struggle to save transition deal

By Erika Solomon

SANAA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Raging battles between heavily armed loyalists and foes of Yemen's president killed six people in the capital on Tuesday as a crisis over his violent crackdown on popular unrest drifted towards civil war.

At least 62 people have been killed since Sunday when frustration boiled over at President Ali Abdullah Saleh's refusal to accept a mediated power transfer plan after suffering serious wounds in a June assassination attempt.

That has turned the violence prevalent in a eight-month-old street revolt against Saleh from shooting at protest crowds increasingly into a military showdown between forces loyal to him and troops and tribes who have defected to the opposition.

World powers fear that spreading chaos in Yemen, home to al Qaeda's most powerful regional branch and flanking No. 1 oil exporter Saudi Arabia, could imperil international oil shipping and raise the risk of militant strikes on Western targets.   Continued...

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