Dec 9, 2011
Sana'a - At least seven people were killed when clashes escalated in northern Yemen between Houthi rebels and Islamists, media reported Friday.
Houthis, a Shiite Muslim minority in Yemen, opened fire on a convoy late Thursday which was said to be carrying food and medicines for besieged Salafists in the area of Dammaj.
The Shiite group reportedly believed the convoy was carrying weapons for their rivals.
At least three Houthis and four Salafists were killed in the clashes, the Yemen Post wrote on its website.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Shiite group, said the convoy was intended to provoke confrontations between the two groups.
Authorities in the province have been trying to broker an end to the dispute that has raged intermittently for more than two months. However, repeated clashes have broken short-lived truces in Sa'ada province.
Houthis accuse the Salafists of planning to build military encampments to extend their influence.
The dispute, which began some months ago, has been overshadowed by political tensions gripping the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country since February, over the disputed rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.