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Yemen's president calls for end to street protests

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is calling for an end to months of street protests seeking his ouster and dialogue during the holy month of Ramadan.

In a statement published Sunday in the state news agency, Saleh said taking up arms and disrupting people's daily lives won't bring about change.

He released the statement from the Saudi hospital where he is being treated for wounds he suffered in an attack on the presidential compound in June.

Yemen is reeling from nearly six months of protests, as activists call for Saleh to step down after 33 years in power. Security has unraveled since the uprising.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Tribesmen and armed residents have driven al-Qaida-linked fighters from one of several towns in southern Yemen overrun by the militants during the country's political turmoil.

A resident of the town of Lawder, Jihad Hafeez, says the militants fled Sunday to the neighboring province of Shabwa, a hotbed of Islamic militants, after two days of fierce fighting. Casualty figures were not available.

Hafeez says residents in Lawder formed community patrols to protect their city in the absence of government forces, who withdrew months ago as President Ali Abdullah Saleh tries to quash a popular uprising calling for his ouster.

Security in Yemen has largely unraveled since the uprising began in February. Yemen's al-Qaida offshoot has taken advantage of the turmoil to extend its reach.