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Yemen army advance on Houthi rebels in Saada

A still from a video posted on a Houthi website showing the Yemeni army advancing
The Yemeni army says it has been making advances on rebels

Fighting in a city in northern Yemen has entered a second day as the military said it had the upper hand against Houthi rebels.

Yemeni military commanders said on Tuesday they would have the city of Saada under control within 24 hours, after starting the assault on Monday.

Bodies can be seen in the streets, reports say, as the military advances on the barricaded rebel stronghold.

Several Yemeni soldiers and 15 Houthi rebels were reported killed.

Around 30 rebels were captured, according to local media.

Offensive

In early November, Houthi rebels struck across the border into Saudi Arabia prompting the neighbouring country to join the military action against them.

Map

The Houthis, named after the family of their leader, say they are trying to reverse the political, economic and religious marginalisation of the Zaydi Shia community in Yemen.

The Zaydi community are a minority in Yemen, but make up the majority in the north of the country.

The insurgents have been fighting the government since 2004.

The government launched a fresh offensive in August 2009, which precipitated a new wave of intense fighting.

It accuses the Houthis of wanting to re-establish Zaydi clerical rule, which ended in 1962.

Aid agencies say tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

In the US, the Senate called on the administration of President Barack Obama to do more to ensure Yemen does not become a failed state.

The non-binding resolution comes as fears increase in the US that continued instability in Yemen provides a foothold for al Qaeda.



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