YEMEN'S MILITARY SENDS EXTRA FORCES TO TOWN SEIZED BY ISLAMISTS
Yemen's military has sent extra forces to a town seized by Islamists last week after negotiations with the militant group's leader broke down, residents and witnesses said Monday, Jan 23.
According to Reuters, tanks and armored vehicles were making their way toward Radda, about 170 km (105 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa, a day after outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen to seek medical treatment in the United States.
A year-long uprising against Saleh has been punctuated by bursts of open combat between his troops and those of a rebel general and tribal militiamen, while militants have exploited weak government control to grab territory, notably in the southern province of Abyan.
Islamist militants entered Radda a week ago, led by Tareq al-Dahab, a relative of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, whom Washington accused of a main role in the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda and assassinated in a drone strike last year. Witnesses said the military had sent heavy armor to the town Monday.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United States - which long backed Saleh as a key to its "counter-terrorism" policy - fear political paralysis over Saleh's fate could embolden al Qaeda's regional, Yemen-based wing.
They support plans to end his 33 years in power by granting him immunity from prosecution over the deaths of protesters in the uprising.
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