Russia sends evacuation planes to Yemen

June 12, 2011 at 11:56 AM
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MOSCOW, June 12 (UPI) -- Russia's Emergencies Ministry says it has sent two planes to Yemen to evacuate Russian nationals who want to flee the country.

About 1,000 Russians live in Yemen, RIA Novosti reported Sunday.

The ministry said it had dispatched an Il-76 and Il-62 aircraft to use in the evacuations.

U.S. officials in Washington said they want to prevent Islamic militants from taking control of Yemen, where some 1,000 pro-democracy demonstrators have died since uprisings began earlier this year.

Officials also said they're concerned members of al-Qaida might be mingling with protesters, instigating violence.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has held power for 33 years, was seriously injured in a bomb attack on his compound in Sanaa a week ago. U.S. warplanes have launched strikes in Yemen to prevent Saleh's troops from firing on unarmed demonstrators.

The Yemeni government said Saleh would return to work next week despite reports he suffered burns on 40 percent of his body in the attack.

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