Defection by key units of Yemen's military facilitates Al Qaida offensive in the South

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CAIRO — Yemen’s military continues to decline amid the rebellion against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Opposition sources said key units of the Western-trained military have either disintegrated or fled to the opposition. They said this included units of the Republican Guard under the direct command of Saleh’s relatives.

“Stand side by side with the courageous armed forces, Republican Guards and security officers who endorsed the peaceful popular youthful revolution and announced their support to stand up to the tyrants and corrupt, and unjust,” Maj. Gen. Abdullah Ali Elewa, a former defense minister, said in a message to the elite force.

[On May 30, at least 51 people were killed and 1,000 injured as the Presidential Guard, backed by security forces, fired on protesters in the southern city of Taiz. The bloodshed prompted a call by the Yemeni opposition for international intervention.]

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