The Gulf Cooperation Council chief left Yemen Wednesday saying political rivals there are not yet ready to reach an agreement, state news agency Saba said, as fighting raged in Sana’a.
“GCC Secretary General Abullatif al-Zayani and his accompanying convoy left Sana’a today,” AFP quoted Saba.
It quoted the Gulf mediator as saying that efforts to reach an agreement between all sides will only be possible “when conditions are more favorable.”
Snipers and shelling killed at least five people in Sana’a on Wednesday, Reuters reported the medics as saying, raising the death toll in the last four days to 75.
Four people were killed by snipers in two separate shootings near a protest camp dubbed ‘Change Square,’ and a fifth died when a mortar shell struck the camp itself.
“I was sitting in my tent when all of a sudden there was a blast through the tent and I looked down and my leg was bleeding,” said Tareq, 18, who was injured in the shelling. He said he had counted four or five shells.
On Tuesday, a negotiated cease-fire halted three days of fighting that killed dozens of people, AP reported.
A peaceful way out of Yemen's seven-month crisis may not come easily, if at all, making it more likely to be settled in large-scale and ruinous street battles pitting renegade army soldiers and their allied tribal fighters against U.S.-trained forces loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and led by his son and one-time heir apparent, Ahmed.
Already, pro-regime forces reinforced their positions in their strongholds in the south of the capital, apparently in anticipation of renewed fighting. The potential for bloody strife has been shown in Yemen since the uprising against Saleh's regime began in February, with hundreds of protesters killed and thousands wounded at the hands of security forces.
At least 23 people were killed in Sana’a on Tuesday as the fighting intensified and spread to sensitive areas of the capital before the cease-fire took hold after nightfall.
In one incident, 13 followers of a tribal leader who changed sides and joined the opposition in March were killed when mortar shells fired by pro-government forces rained down on the upscale Hedah area of southern Sana’a, also home to top regime figures.
“It’s a war zone,” said Sana’a activist Hakim al-Masmari. “We can’t even sit near windows because we could be killed.”
Thousands have been forced to flee Sana’a for the relative safety of rural areas. Scores of pickup trucks and cars loaded with families and their belongings were seen early Tuesday heading out of the city, repeatedly shaken by loud explosions overnight.
The United States condemned the violence and called on all parties to exercise restraint. “We urge a prompt, impartial investigation into the events that led to the recent violence,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday.