Friday, November 1, 2013
Fighting flares again in the north of Yemen
Houthi rebels in the north of Yemen, with the help of tanks, launched a fresh attack on Friday on a town held by their Sunni Muslim Salafi rivals.The fighting erupted on Wednesday despite government mediation efforts to shore up a ceasefire in the Saada province, which has long been outside the control of the central Yemeni authorities. Salafi spokesman Abu Ismail al-Hajouri told Reuters there were 40 dead and at least 200 wounded. All the casualties were Salafis, he said.
The offensive was against the town of Dammaj, which lies near Saada, a Houthi-controlled city near the Saudi border 130 km (80 miles) north of the capital Sanaa.
Saada province is the base for a long-running Houthi rebellion against the Yemeni government. Saudi Arabia's military intervened in 2009 before a ceasefire took hold the year after. The province has since fallen openly into Houthi hands with a Houthi-imposed governor.
Hajouri said Dammaj had been besieged by Houthi rebels for weeks and accused them of shelling the city with rockets that set on fire dormitories for students at a religious school. Houthi officials could not be reached for comment. There was no independent account of the clashes and no immediate report of any Houthi casualties.
Apart from the Salafi-Houthi conflict, Yemen is struggling with southern secessionists and militants of al Qaeda.