(MENAFN - Arab News) Yemen's opposition said on Monday it had finalized a deal with President Ali Abdullah Saleh under which he is to transfer his powers to his deputy.
Saleh has backed down thrice from signing an initiative presented by the GCC calling for the president to hand over his powers to his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, ahead of an early election.
That's why Yemen observers are keeping their fingers crossed. The question everyone is asking is: Will Saleh honor the deal this time?
Mohammed Basindwa, head of the opposition National Council, said an agreement has been reached on an operational mechanism that had been demanded by Saleh, and was expected to be signed on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a top Yemeni army officer was killed in battle between elite troops and dissident tribesmen who took over a strategic military base north of Sanaa, the Defense Ministry and tribal sources said. Tribesmen made off with weapons.
"Col. Abdulsalam Al-Sufyani, head of operations of the Third Brigade" was killed in an attack on the brigade's base in Arhab, 40 km north of the capital.
The attack was carried out by "armed militias from the First Armored Brigade (led by dissident Gen. Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar), the Muslim Brotherhood Al-Islah (reform) party, and Al-Ahmar terrorist gangs," the ministry said.
Hameed Asim, a leader of tribesmen who have skirmished with troops from the Republican Guard led by Saleh's son, said fighters killed several troops and lost seven of their own in the raid before withdrawing.