SANAA (AFP) – Dozens of people were killed or wounded as fighting raged anew on Sunday between government troops and Shiite rebels in the Omran and Saada provinces of northern Yemen, military sources said.
“The army is bombarding Al-Waqiya zone, northeast of Wadi Shabareq in Harf Sufyan,” one source told AFP, adding that troops also managed to seize the nearby Ghalla region from the rebels.
“There are dozens of killed and wounded in violent fighting which is under way in the region” of Omran province, dozens of kilometres (miles) north of the Zaidi rebels’ mountainous stronghold of Saada, another military source said.
Military sources also reported fighting on the outskirts of Saada city in the Al-Magaash, Al-Iguab and Mahdhah districts.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday that his government was prepared to fight Shiite rebels in the mountainous north for “years,” at a celebration marking the anniversary of 1962 that overthrew the Zaidi imamate.
The government accuses the rebels of wanting to restore the Shiite imamate, a form of clerical rule that was replaced by a republic following the 1962 coup which sparked eight years of civil war.
Yemen also accuses the rebels of being backed by Shiite Iran — a charge they deny while alleging in turn that Sanaa has brought in Saudi warplanes to support the army.