Blackout hits large parts of Yemen after attack on power lines

SANAA Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:35am EDT

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SANAA (Reuters) - Large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, have been left without electricity after Yemeni tribesmen attacked power lines on Thursday, a Yemeni official said.

The attack in the Maarib province resulted in a key power station shutting down and came less than 24 hours after tribesmen targeted another part of the grid on Wednesday.

The source said that tribesmen carried out the attack to pressure government into paying them financial compensation that they say has been promised by authorities.

Yemeni tribesmen frequently attack oil pipelines and have targeted power lines. But they have not caused such widespread blackouts before. Attacks on oil and gas lines have also been carried out by al Qaeda-linked militants.

Restoring stability in Yemen has become a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies, who are concerned about al Qaeda militants operating in a country.

(Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Mirna Sleiman; Editing by Mahmoud Habboush and Daniel Fineren)

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