Yemen rebels 'clash with Saudis'

Yemen's Houthi rebels have reportedly clashed with Saudi forces involved in the construction of a border fence. Reutersand the BBC have the story.

Reuters quotes a statement on a rebel website which says: "Residents of the area reject any fence which would have a negative economic impact on them and cut them off ... from their brethren on the other side."

There has been no comment from the Saudis and Yemen's defence ministry has denied the reports, saying: "Such allegations indicate only that the rebels feel that their defeat is very close and they want to justify it by speaking about Saudi interference."

The rebels, who are accused of receiving support from Iran, in turn accuse the Yemeni government of receiving support from Saudi Arabia. They have claimed several times that Saudi warplanes have attacked them on Yemeni territory and on Monday they said that Saudi artillery pounded the market of al-Husama on north-western Yemen, where many people were shopping.

Separately from the Houthi conflict, Sahwa Net reports the arrest of 15 people in the central city of Ta'izz, apparently to prevent the launching of a new organisation called the Popular Movement for Justice and Change.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 23 October 2009.