Renewed violence in northern Yemen

Violence in northern Yemen seems to be increasing again, despite 
the truce called by the government in February.

On Wednesday, the interior ministry said three tribesmen (described by Reuters as "pro-government") were killed by Houthi rebels.

Yesterday, officials said seven people died during a gun battle in Dammaj, Saada province, between Houthis and pro-government tribal fighters. The Houthis had apparently been trying to hold a rally in Dammaj.

Various tribal militias fought alongside the Yemeni army in the recent "iron fist" campaign against the Houthis.

The Dammaj shootout may have a religious dimension. One long-standing grievance of the Houthis, who are Zaidi Shia, is the spread of Salafism in the area. Dammaj is home to Dar al-Hadith, a Salafi educational centre which has previously been accused of encouraging terrorism.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 30 April 2010.