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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 July, 2004, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Clashes 'leave 118 dead' in Yemen
Yemeni troops on patrol in Saada province
The siege in northern Yemen is said to continue
More than 100 people have died in clashes between followers of a rebel cleric, Hussein al-Houthi, and Yemeni forces, the authorities said.

Interior Minister Rshad al-Alimi told parliament that 86 supporters of the cleric had been killed since mid-June, as well as 32 soldiers and policemen.

The government has accused the Shia cleric of setting up an armed group and unlicensed religious centres.

The minister said a siege in mountainous northern Yemen continued.

Sources close to Mr Houthi said the death toll was closer to 200, Reuters news agency reported.

The government also said 120 members of the security forces and 21 supporters of the cleric had been wounded during the clashes in Saada province.

Over 185 followers of the preacher had been arrested, the government said.


Hussein al-Houthi is a member of the Zaidi community, a moderate Shia sect in the north of the mainly Sunni country.

The government accuses him of setting up an armed group called Believing Youth and of staging violent anti-American protests.

Anti-US sentiment in the region is high following the occupation of Iraq and some Yemeni clerics are known to preach hatred of the West.

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26 Apr 04  |  Country profiles

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