Written By: Yemen Observer Staff
Article Date: Sep 23, 2012 - 5:53:56 PM
After fierce clashes between Houthi rebels and militants of Islah party in Rayda town, Houthis rebels withdraw their militants from Rayda and handed over 36 prisoners of war that they captured during the past two days.
Over 16 fighters were killed in Rayda town in the north of Yemen in ongoing clashes between Shiite tribesmen known as al-Houthis and ultra-conservative Sunnis affiliated to Islah Islamist party, security officials and local sources said on Monday.
Tensions have long existed between Salafi Islamists, who are Sunni Muslims, and al-Houthi rebels, who are Shiite Muslims.
Local sources said that tribal midiators from Ayal Suraih tribe lead by Sheikh Sinan al-Ghouli succeeded in reaching to a truce between the two rivals and that both sides agreed to withdraw their militants from Rayda immediately.
Nearly 200 people died in fighting late last year between the two sides in northern Sa’ada province.
The latest clashes in Amran province revealed a new alliance between Hawthis and loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom the group fought in a costly six-year war until a cease-fire was reached in early 2010.
Over 200 Yemeni Jews live in Rayda town; however no casualties were reported among the minority Jewish community during the latest clashes.
The clashes happened after some affiliates of Islah party intrupted a demonstration organized by Houthis who were protesting the Innocence of Muslims movie that defamed Islam and Prophet Mohammed.
The Houthis also protested the appointment of the new governor of Amran, Mohammed Damaj and the new security chief of Amran, alleging that Damaj was not from Amran province and that the new chief police was the cause of war in Sa’da and war in Bani Hushish.
Residents trapped in street fighting in the city of Rayda in Amran say the Salafis from the opposition Islah Party were fighting Houthis, the two sides firing at each other with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.
Houthis accused the commander of the 110 brigade General al-Gushaibi of supporting Salafis with armor vehicles and rockets.
The clashes happened a week after Yemen's government installed new governors from the Islah Party in Amran, about 45 miles north west of the capital Sana’a, and two other provinces around Sa’ada where Houthis are concentrated.
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