Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

'Civilians die' in Yemen strike

Map of Yemen

Rebels in north Yemen say 15 civilians have been killed in an air strike by government planes.

They say many of those killed were from the same family.

The reports were posted on pro-rebel websites and cannot be independently verified. Yemeni government officials have not commented.

Security operations against rebels are ongoing. Government soldiers and rebels have been killed in clashes near the border with Saudi Arabia.

The rebel sources say the incident took place in the Farwa area of northern Saada province. Northern rebels often report air strikes by Yemeni government planes.

Rebels from the minority Shia Zaidi sect in northern Yemen have been battling the government since 2004.

Some complain of decimation by the government. Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently called on the rebels to accept a ceasefire.

Alongside the fighting in the north and secessionist movement in the south, Western policymakers believe al Qaeda is gaining a foothold in Yemen. Earlier this week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that instability in Yemen is a global as well as regional threat.

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