NNA – Clashes between Shiite rebels and pro-president forces in southern Yemen overnight left 21 dead, on the fourth week of a Saudi-led air campaign against insurgents, medics and local sources said Sunday.
Ten Huthi rebels and four members of the “popular committees” militia fighting on the side of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi were killed in pre-dawn clashes in the southwestern city of Taez, the sources said.
The “popular committees” are fighting alongside the military’s 35th armoured brigade which remains loyal to the exiled Hadi.
They received air support from warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition, which bombed Huthi positions, according to witnesses.
The rebels sent in reinforcements from the cities of Hodeida and Ibb to Taez.
The city has become the scene of fierce clashes over the past week, after having been largely spared in fighting that has spread across several Yemeni provinces.
The rebels who seized Sanaa unopposed in September, have since expanded their control over several provinces.
Saudi Arabia mounted an air campaign at Hadi’s request as the Huthis closed in on his refuge in the southern city of Aden in March.
Hadi had escaped Huthi house-arrest in Sanaa late February and resurfaced in the port city, which he declared a temporary capital. He has since taken refuge in Riyadh.
In Aden, southern fighters clashed on Saturday night with rebels and allied troops who have seized parts of the city, residents said, but no casualty toll was available.
Also in the south, Sunni tribesmen killed seven Huthi fighters in an attack on their position in Ataq, the provincial capital of Shabwa, tribal sources said.
And three al-Qaida suspects were killed in a U.S. drone attack in Saeed, elsewhere in Shabwa, a local tribal chief said, adding that the militants were in a vehicle transporting weapons.
Washington classifies Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula as the most dangerous affiliate of the jihadist organisation.–AFP