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Yemenis march for Palestine

Sanaa - Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, most carrying weapons, demonstrated on Saturday in the Yemeni capital in support of the Palestinians, demanding strong decisions from the Arab summit, an AFP reporter said.

The official news agency Saba estimated the crowd at one million people and the organisers put the number at 1.5 million, as similar protests were reported across the country.

In Sanaa, they called on Arab leaders meeting in Cairo on Saturday and Sunday "to open the path to jihad [holy war] against the Zionist enemy" and to "take strong decisions on the Israeli force of occupation".

A committee led by parliamentary speaker and head of the Islamist Al-Islah party, Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, organised the protest.

He strode out at the head of the demonstration alongside several ministers, MPs and other party leaders.

"Our duty is to liberate Jerusalem," demonstrators chanted.

"No peace, no normalisation," they shouted, many carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, some copies of the Muslim holy book the Koran.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called at the opening of the Arab summit for an international force to be set up to protect the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

He also urged fellow Arab leaders to lift sanctions that have been imposed on Iraq since it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

"I am for international forces to ensure the protection of women and children" in the Palestinian territories, where more than 120 people have been killed since clashes erupted with Israeli forces on 28 September, he said.

Saleh also said the Arabs should provide military and financial aid to the Palestinians.

"I am for jihad, for resistance, for arms and money to be sent to fight the Jews and not for [verbal] condemnations," the Yemeni leader said. - Sapa-AFP,1113,2-10-35_929524,00.html

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