Armed forces clash with Al-Huthi rebels [Archives:2007/1020/Front Page]

January 29 2007

By: Raidan Al-Saqqaf
SAADA, Jan 28 ) Local sources in the governorate of Saada said that the Yemeni armed forces confronted a group affiliated to Zaidi-Shiite Leader Badr al-Deen al-Houthi in Mathaab village located in the southern part the governorate. The exchange of fire resulted in over 26 casualties involving soliders, while the number of causlties among Al-Huthi followers has not been confirmed as the clash continues.

The armed clash between the two sides disrupted a cease-fire agreement signed between the al-Houthi followers and local authorities in 2005. Mr. AbdulMalik Al-Huthi, who is the son of Badr al-Deen al-Houti, confirmed that the arbitration committee set to solve the previous disputes with the authorities has been notified of the attack. He warned that this attack has violated the cease-fire agreement and will spark violence in the governorate. He also added that there is no clear reason for the attacks against civilians in the area.

Al-Huthi further noted this attack came after his followers received leaflets which target the beliefs and foundations of the Zaidi Islamic sect, adding that residents of Mathaab area are being targeted and discriminated against because of their religious beliefs and affiliation with Zaidi cleric Al-Huthi.

The attack on the Mathaab village came a few days after 45 Yemeni Jews evacuated their homes in Saada upon receiving threats from al-Houthi followers, an issue which raised concern around the situation of Yemeni Jews living in Saada

Sources close to Al-Huthi group, which is also known as the Believing Youth, indicate that they have nothing against the Jewish community and that al-Houthis did not threaten them or their livelihood in any way, adding that the government is using different tactics to distress them and use this problem to suppress them even further.

According to local sources in the province, the threatened Jews are still residing in a Hotel in Saada city and have not yet been able to return to their homes for fear of loosing their lives as the person who sent the threatening letter has not been identified.