Houthi militants captured a historic castle in Al-Hodeidah Governorate on Friday following clashes with members of Al-Hirak Al-Tahami, an anti-Houthi political group based in the west of the country.
“The Houthi militia managed to take control of the Corniche Al-Hodeidah Castle after clashes with members from the Hirak Al-Tahami. The two sides exchanged fire with light and medium arms,” a source from the city who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the source.
The Shi’ite movement also seized a key public square where Friday prayers were supposed to be held followed by a demonstration by Hirak Al-Tahami supporters in protest against the Houthi presence in the city, the source added.
Houthi snipers were positioned on top of the castle as a precaution against possible counterattacks.
“Violent clashes erupted between Houthis and members of the Hirak Al-Tahami group along the Hodeidah corniche on Thursday,” a senior figure from the group told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Two civilians were killed during the clashes and several Hirak Al-Tuhami members injured.
Hirak Al-Tahami fighters managed to capture a militant loyal to the Shi’ite group who was identified as a Republican Guard soldier named Radwan Al-Maroni. He was turned over to the city’s authorities.
“There is a third side seeking to inflame the situation in Hodeidah,” the source said, referring to Yemeni forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the diplomat called on the GCC’s Peninsula Shield Force to act swiftly to contain the threat posed by both Houthi militants and Al-Qaeda fighters to neighboring Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Al-Qaeda terrorists and Houthi militants are increasingly engaged in a bitter conflict in central Yemen, sparking fears of sectarian conflict. Dozens of Shi’ite fighters were killed by Sunni Al-Qaeda militants in the central city of Radda on Saturday, tribal sources reported.