Houthis, tribesmen clash in Yemen’s Ibb city

Shiite Houthi militants patrol the vicinity of a venue where a mass funeral for victims of a suicide attack on followers of the Shiite Houthi group was being held in Sanaa October 14, 2014.

Shiite Houthi militants patrol the vicinity of a venue where a mass funeral for victims of a suicide attack on followers of the Shiite Houthi group was being held in Sanaa October 14, 2014.

Yemen’s Houthis, a Shiite tribal grouping, clashed with tribesmen Friday in the northern part of the Yemeni city of Ibb, Al Arabiya’s News Channel correspondent reported.

The clashes took place after the Houthi rebels seized more territory near the capital Sanaa, nearing a bastion of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Ibb borders the Al-Bayda province, which is an AQAP stronghold.

On Thursday, at least 10 people were killed in fighting between Houthi tribesmen and al-Qaeda-linked militants in central Yemen, Reuters reported witnesses as saying.

The clashes are part of a growing struggle over territory and influence between the two enemy sides.

Houthis established themselves as Yemen’s new powerbrokers last month, capturing Sanaa on Sept. 21 to little resistance from residents or from the weak administration of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Their ascendance has angered al-Qaeda, which views Shiites as heretics and Houthis as pawns of Iran. Last week, AQAP claimed a suicide bombing on a Houthi gathering that killed at least 47 people.

On Thursday, witnesses said a convoy of Houthi fighters trying to reach the town of Radda in al-Bayda province, 130 km south east of Sanaa, was blocked by fighters from Ansar al-Sharia, the local arm of AQAP.

“There are heavy clashes going on there, with various weapons, including RPGs,” one resident said. He estimated that at least 10 Houthi fighters were killed.

The fighting comes after clashes between Houthis and Ansar al-Sharia in Radda on Tuesday in which at least 12 people were killed.

Another convoy of several cars carrying Houthis was later seen on the outskirts of Taiz, a city 50 km south of Ibb.

Al Qaeda said in a statement issued on Thursday that its fighters had on the previous day stormed the town Odein, near Ibb, killing three soldiers and holding it for nine hours to prevent the Houthis from taking over.

 
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