Sana’a: Scores have been killed and wounded in days of fierce clashes between Yemeni troops and rebels north of the capital Sana’a, medical and local officials said on Sunday.
“We have received scores of corpses and injured people belonging to the army and tribesmen,” Mohsen Ali, a medic at a hospital in the northern province of Amran, said.
Heavy weapons including artillery and tanks were used in the fighting between army units and Al Houthi rebels, damaging hotels and a state-owned cement plant in the province.
Clashes continued on Sunday after at least 104 people were killed on Saturday.
A local official said: “Tensions still run high and the situation could explode again at any moment.”
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, accused Al Houthis of attacking several government facilities in Amran in recent days. “Fighting in Amran has turned into a street war.”
A spokesman for the Al Houthis, Ali Al Qahum, said their attacks were in response to an offensive by army troops whom he accused of siding with Islamist militants in the area.
“Unless the state changes all senior officials in Amran, the conflict will continue,” Al Qahum said.
A ceasefire brokered by a presidential committee last month collapsed, with each side blaming the other.
The conflict between the government and Al Houthis, who demand more rights for their group, has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone leading to fears of further unrest.
Al Houthis blame the end of a 12-day ceasefire across north Yemen on an advance in the Al Jouf province northeast of the capital Sana’a by army units loyal to the Islah party, which has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The government said the advance on the town of Al Safra had been prompted by the failure of Al Houthi fighters to vacate positions in compliance with the terms of the ceasefire.
Al Houthis have expanded their influence from the far north to nearer Sana’a since the beginning of the year.
In addition to the unrest in the north, Yemen faces a secessionist movement in the south and an ongoing insurgency by Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, seen as one of the most dangerous branches of the terrorist network.