Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

'Fresh clashes' reported in Yemen with Houthi rebels

Yemeni troops attack Houthi rebels 01 February
Yemen said it overran several Houthi positions on Monday

There have been reports of renewed clashes with rebels in northern Yemen, days after a ceasefire offer was turned down by the government in Sanaa.

The Yemeni army said it overran several rebel positions in the northern district of Saada where fighting has been going on for months.

But rebels, known as Houthis, denied there had been any attacks on them.

A rebel ceasefire was turned down on Sunday by the government who said the rebels had not met a key condition.

"Army forces were able to destroy a number of rebel hideouts in the Saada district," the AFP news agency quoted military sources as saying.


The rebels later denied the military's claim and at the same time accused the Saudi Arabian government of carrying out airstrikes inside Yemeni territory.


"We stress that there was no exchange of fire with the Saudi army nor is there a presence of snipers from any side," the rebels said in a statement reported by Reuters news agency.

But pictures showed Yemeni Troops preparing for an assault, and also the aftermath of an attack on a Houthi position.

The Saudi Arabian military has been fighting the Houthi rebels too, after they crossed the border and took over an area inside Saudi territory last November.

The Yemeni government said one of the reasons they were rejecting the ceasefire offer by rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi was that some of his forces had not returned across the border into Yemen.

Last week the Saudis said they were being shot at by "Houthi snipers".

The UN refugee agency says 250,000 Yemenis have been displaced by fighting in the region over the past five years.

Houthi rebels from the minority Shia Zaidi sect based in the north-western Saada district have been battling the government since 2004.

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