No proof U.S.-trained forces attack Yemen protestors: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Friday it had no evidence that Yemeni counter-terrorism forces trained by the United States have been used against protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“We’re watching closely the violence that’s occurring in Yemen,” Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said as violence raged in the Yemeni capital, where protesters are demanding an end to Saleh’s nearly 33 years in power.

“Right now we have no evidence that any of the counter-terrorism forces that we have trained are being used against protesters. We have seen reports that they have been engaged with armed forces and are looking for more information on that,” Lapan told reporters.

Washington has ramped up counter-terrorism assistance to Yemen, where the local branch of al Qaeda is seen as a growing threat to the United States.

There were conflicting reports on Friday about an attack on Saleh’s palace in Sanaa. A western diplomat said Saleh had been slightly wounded when the palace was shelled.

(Reporting by Missy Ryan, Editing by Sandra Maler and Vicki Allen)