The military blamed opposition leaders for downing the Sukhoi SU-22 near Arhab, 40 kilometers (26 miles) north of Sana’a, a region that is the northern gateway into the capital. AL ARABIYAYemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he would not step down unless his main rivals vacate their positions, according to a report by the Washington Post on Friday. Saleh told the paper that a power transfer plan proposed by the neighboring Gulf countries requires the removal of “all elements” stirring tension in Yemen and that these elements include his rivals. One such rival is General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar who defected and joined the uprising. His army units control some parts of the capital Sana’a. Another powerful rival to Saleh is opposition tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, leader of the powerful Ahmar clan. Saleh said members of the clan should not be allowed to hold senior political positions or military posts. “If we transfer power and they are there, this will mean that we have given into a coup,” he said. “If we transfer power, and they are in their positions, and they are still decision-makers, this will be very dangerous. This will lead to civil war.” The 69-year-old president has repeatedly refused to sign a power transfer deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council under which he would hand over power to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in return for immunity from prosecution. On Thursday clashes between Saleh loyalist forces and Ahmar tribesmen in al-Hasaba killed two people. The military blamed opposition leaders for downing the Sukhoi SU-22 near Arhab, 40 kilometers (26 miles) north of Sana’a, a region that is the northern gateway into the capital. It also follows a large protest on Wednesday when hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated near Change Square, demanding Saleh’s ouster and trial. Saleh, who is under international pressure to relinquish power and allow new elections, returned to the country on Sept. 23, sparking violence in which scores have been killed.