Al Mukalla: Local authorities in Yemen’s remote island of Socotra said on Tuesday that they were quizzing at least two dozen Iranian fishermen who came ashore on seven fighter vessels due to tidal sea waves.

“We formed a committee of intelligence and fishery officials and the army to search for evidence of illegal fighting materials,” Salim Abdullah, the governor of Socotra province, told Gulf News.

Abdullah said the committee questioned the fishermen about their presence in Yemeni waters and inspected their boats looking for illegal fighting materials or arms.

“The committee’s initial probe showed that they were not carrying illegal fishing materials. But we want to know now whether they were fishing illegally in Yemeni waters or not.”

The Yemen government has repeatedly accused Iran of using fishing boats for funnelling lethal arms to Al Houthis. Local fishermen also complain about unknown commercial ships trawling for fish in Yemen’s unprotected waters.

Elsewhere, government forces battled Al Houthis and their military allies outside the capital and in Shawba, Jawf and Marib as the rebels were exploiting the widely violated truce to make territorial gains. In Nehim district of Sana’a province, Abdullah Al Shandaqi, a spokesperson for Sana’a resistance, said on Tuesday that pro-government tribal fighters and army troops repelled many attempts by Al Houthis to recapture many military sites from the government forces.

“Al Houthi militias launched an attack on our forces on Tuesday morning. We managed to push them back and pursued them in many areas in Nehim. We gained control of new regions like Al Amer, Dhabia, Thera, and Nemala,” he said on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Al Shandaqi said as many as 20 Al Houthis and one resistance fighter were killed in the heavy battles. In the neighbouring Marib province, local officials reported fierce clashes between the two sides in Serwah district on Tuesday.

Deadly clashes were also reported in the northern province of Jawf where government forces said they fought off a big assault by Al Houthis and other forces loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh to take control of areas in Masloub and Ghayel districts. Officials said that ten Al Houthis were arrested during fighting.

On Monday, the Saudi interior ministry said that one Saudi soldier was killed and three others were wounded when a landmine exploded on the border with Yemen.

The blast hit a border patrol in the southwestern province of Jazan, the ministry said in a statement.