By Associated Press, January 12, 2012
SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni security officials say 20 fighters have been killed in new clashes between an ultraconservative Islamist group and former Shiite rebels in the country’s north.
Tensions between the groups have reignited since President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a U.S.-backed deal in November to pass power to his vice president. Yemen has been badly shaken by 10 months of protests calling for Saleh’s ouster.
The fighting pitted Shiite Hawthis against Sunni Salafi Islamists. Ten died on each side, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity according to military protocol.
The Hawthis fought a bloody six-year war against Saleh’s government that ended with a cease-fire last year. Yemen’s Salafis practice a hard-line interpretation of Islam similar to al-Qaida’s.