Local News

18 Houthis killed in clashes with tribesmen in Arhab

National Yemen

Eighteen members of the Houthi militant group were killed Sunday and 22 others wounded in violent clashes with armed Arhab tribesmen in a northern Yemeni district that bears the tribe’s name, tribal sources said.

“Violent clashes erupted between Houthi militants and armed Arhab tribesmen which left 18 militants dead and 22 others wounded,” a tribal source told The Anadolu Agency.

The clashes began when Houthi armed militants blew up the house of tribal leader Yehia Taqi Markoub in the village of Darb Obaid of the Arhab district, he said.

Markoub was able to escape to another safe location without being harmed, the source added.

Houthi leaders could not be immediately reached for comment.

Since they took control of capital Sanaa in late September, the Houthis have sought to expand their influence to other parts of the country farther afield.

Meanwhile, an official with the Yemen’s Interior Ministry was assassinated Sunday by unknown assailants in the central Yemeni province of Ibb, a security source said.

“Unknown gunmen shot the head of Ibb’s criminal investigation division, Col. Ali al-Hakmi, as he was walking on a street in Ibb,” a security source, who requested anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency.

Since they took control of capital Sanaa in late September, the Houthis have sought to expand their influence to other parts of the country farther afield.

The Houthis’ growing power in fractious Yemen has raised fears of sectarian conflict in the poor Arab country, which has remained in turmoil since a 2011 popular uprising ended the decades-long rule of president Ali Abdullah Saleh one year later.

within the same clashes members of Shiite Houthi militant group abducted 44 people from the tribe of Arhab over the past week in a northern Yemeni district that bears the tribe’s name, tribal sources said on Sunday.

“Armed Houthi militants kidnapped 44 Arhab tribesmen over the week and took them to undisclosed locations,” a tribal source told The Anadolu Agency.

During the same period, 63 houses were raided by Houthis and searched for weapons and men wanted by the group, the source added.

On Thursday, 12 Houthi militants were killed when a bomb targeting their patrol car went off  in Arhab, a district of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, a security source had told AA.

The source added that tension had prevailed in areas inhabited by Arhab tribe on Thursday, following the killing by Houthis of tribal leader Sheikh Mohamed Mahdi al-Hazmi when they attacked his home in the district.

The Houthis have remained in control of capital Sanaa since late September. Ever since, the group has moved to extend its control to other areas.

The Houthis’ growing influence in Yemen has pitted the Shiite group against Al-Qaeda – still said to be active in the fractious country – and local Sunni tribes.