At least 13 killed in north Yemen clashes
- security source
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[March 01, 2014]
SANAA (Reuters) - At least 13 people
died when Shi'ite Muslim fighters clashed with security forces in
northern Yemen on Friday, government sources said, underlining the chaos
still gripping the country two years after mass protests ousted its
The fighters were from the Houthi movement which is seeking to
strengthen its hold on the north - one of a string of challenges
facing an interim government also battling southern separatists, al
Qaeda-linked militants and an economic crisis.
Local authorities said two soldiers were killed in the attack and
four others were wounded when Houthis attacked a security checkpoint
in the northwestern al Jawf province, according to state news agency
An exchange of fire took place as a result of the attack and three
of the Houthi attackers were killed and several others were then
arrested, a statement by the local authorities said.
The security situation in Yemen is closely watched in Gulf Arab
states and Washington given the impoverished country's strategic
position next to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and to main shipping
Security sources had told Reuters violence erupted after members of
the Houthi group staged a protest in al Hazm, the provincial capital
of al Jawf province, against what they said was the government's
failure to boost the economy and end violence.
Officials from both sides had given different accounts of what
One government security source, who asked not to be named, said
armed Houthis exchanged fire with soldiers at an army checkpoint
near a local government compound, leaving at least 10 Houthis and
three soldiers dead.
Another security source said some of the soldiers may have been
supporters of one of the Houthis' long-standing foes - the Sunni
Islah party, a group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
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The Houthis said they were attacked by armed Islah members supported
by a group from the army, according to a statement on a
There were "dozens of dead and wounded", Ali al-Bakhiti, a member of
the Houthi movement in the capital Sanaa, told Reuters. Islah member
Mohammed Qahtan said the group had no armed wing and played no part
in Friday's fighting.
Yemen's interim President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been struggling
to restore order and meet the demands of the country's rival groups
since his predecessor, veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, was
forced out of office in 2012.
On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council authorized sanctions against
anyone in Yemen who obstructs the country's political transition or
commits human rights violations but stopped short of blacklisting
any specific individuals.
(Reporting by Khaled Abdullah in Sanaa; Additional reporting and
writing by Rania El Gamal in Dubai, editing by David Evans)
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