Renewed clashes in Sa’ada between Houthis and Salafists after short calm
The Salafists’ spokesperson, Muheeb Al-Daleei, said the clashes began Friday when the Houthis attempted to take over the Al-Shafeeia security checkpoint, controlled by Salafists, which lies in the east of Kataf district.
The Salafists claimed that they repelled the attack. Confrontations between Houthi and Salafist groups continued on Friday and Saturday.
Bloody clashes continued for hours Sunday. Fourteen armed Salafists were reportedly shot dead, in addition to 35 Houthi deaths, according to Al-Daleei. Injuries were also reported.
In a phone interview with the Yemen Times, Al-Daleei said that over the course of the confrontations, the Salafists took over Houthi weapons, including RPGs.
Al-Daleei indicated that once the communication team set up by President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi to prepare for the National Dialogue Conference left Sa’ada on Thursday, clashes broke out. He claimed that last month was relatively quiet in terms of clashes.
For his part, a Houthi information committee member in Sa’ada, Abu Hashim, said the Salafists have spread false information to media outlets in order to misguide the public. He added that the deaths among Houthis are fewer than the Salafists claimed.
“The Salafists in Sa’ada are conspiring with the Saudis to fight the Houthis,” Abu Hashim said.
He said that the Salafists attacked a Houthi-run position in Kataf district, and that the Houthis repelled the attack. Military clashes, he said, lasted for hours.
According to Abu Hashim, three cars owned by Salafists were blown up by landmines. Everyone in the vehicles was killed.
Clashes between the Houthis and the Salafis have largely halted in the last two months following local mediation between the two sides. The sectarian fighting between the Shiite Houthis and Sunni Salafists began in November, leading to dozens of death and hundreds of displaced in both Sa’ada and Hajja governorates.