Yemen death toll grows

Fighting between the Houthi rebels, government forces and pro-government tribesmen continued in northern Yemen yesterday despite a short-lived ceasefire and the death toll over the last few days of conflct may now be as high as 50.

The Yemen Observer reports:

Local sources said that the confrontations reached the peak on Wednesday noon adding that the army launched artillery and missile offensive from different military sites located in Harf Sufyan of Amran province and from Al Ammar district of Sa’adah province targeting al-Houthis sites in al-Amashyah in an attempt to break the siege imposed by al-Houthi rebels against member of the Parliament Bin Aziz whom al-Houthis accuse of killing three of their affiliates in an ambush last week.

The sources said that some tribal militants from Bin Aziz and BinZaidan tribes are heading to al-Amashyah for supporting the military forces.

The new confrontations broke out after three Houthis were killed and several others were wounded in Shagih district last week.

As often happens in Yemen, it is difficult to be sure exactly what is going on. Some sources say the rebels are besieging the (pro-government) tribe of Sheikh Sagheer Aziz, who is also a member of parliament. The rebels, meanwhile, say they are fighting the army, not the tribe.

Another tribal figure, Sheikh Zeidan al-Maqnaee (also pro-government) was killed along with his son and four bodyguards in the Munabbeh district of Saada province on Tuesday. The official news agency says he was ambushed. The rebels, in turn,deny that it was an ambush and say that the sheikh died in a shootout.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 22 July 2010.