Thursday, September 18, 2014

Houthis push into Yemeni capital after clashing at suburbs

Supporters of the Shia Houthi movement erect a tent blocking the airport road in Sanaa, 7 September
One of many protest tents that the Houthis erected in and around Sanaa in recent weeks. (Photo EPA)

Armed Shi'ite rebels pushed into Yemen's capital Sanaa after clashing with the army in the city's northwest outskirts on Thursday, security sources and residents said, in an escalation of weeks of fighting and protests.
Residents of northwest al-Shamlan district told Reuters the Shi'ite Houthi gunmen were now advancing along Thalatheen Street, a major route into the western edge of the city.
A military source said Houthi gunmen had also attacked an army camp on the southern entrance of the capital, but soldiers repelled the assault.
The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi sect of Shi'ite Islam, have been involved in a decade-long conflict with the Sunni-dominated government, fighting for more control and territory in the north. n recent weeks, Houthi protesters have been blocking the main road to Sanaa's airport and holding sit-ins at ministries calling for the ousting of the government and the restoration of subsidies cut by the state in July as part of economic reforms.

At least 42 people have also been killed in clashes involving Houthi fighters in different parts of the country since Tuesday. Of these  20 people were killed on Wednesday when Shi'ite Muslim rebels clashed with army soldiers and allied tribesmen in an outer suburb of Sanaa, tribal and medical sources said. They said the rebels had gained control of Wadi Dhahr suburb in the fighting. Fighting also broke out in northern al-Jawf province, where 22 people were killed on Tuesday, following weeks of sometimes bloody anti-government protests by Houthi supporters in Sanaa. Tribal sources told Reuters that at least 12 Houthi gunmen and gunmen from the Sunni Islah group were killed in Wednesday's clashes.

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