Riyadh, Sana’a- The war of statements in Yemen between former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and head of Ansar Allah group, Abdul Malik al-Houthi exploded on Saturday into a military confrontation between their militants in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.
A source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “militants believed to be linked to Saleh’s Republican Guards fired at a Houthi military position in the Joulat al-Misbaha where the two groups exchanged fire in the presence of a high security deployment.”
Sky News Arabia later reported that one person from Saleh’s militants and five Houthi militants were killed and several others were injured during the clashes, which it said erupted after Houthi fighters tried to set up a security checkpoint near Saleh’s house in Sana’a.”
Sky news added that pro-Saleh forces spread later in Al Sabeen Square where nearby streets were closed due to the clashes.
A source in Sana’a told Asharq Al-Awsat that the two groups were trying to enforce mediation though the intermediary of leaders from both sides.
In the past weeks, tension grew between Saleh and Houthi, who had both joined forces in 2014 and drove the legitimate government out of the capital.
Separately, the Joint Forces Command of the Arab Coalition for the Restoration of Legitimacy in Yemen issued a statement on Saturday saying that targeting a house in Faj Atan in the Yemeni capital Sana’a at dawn last Friday was an unintentional incident, adding that the planned military objective was a legitimate military objective of a Command and Control Center, or Etisalat, which belongs to the Houthi armed militias, developed to take nearby residential areas and civilians as human shields.
“Documents and procedures relating to operational planning … and the presence of a technical mistake was the cause of accidental as well as unintentional incident proven not to be directly targeting the aforementioned house,” the statement said.
Spokesman of the coalition forces Col. Turki al-Maliki expressed deep sorrow over the occurrence of this unintentional and accidental incident, collateral damage to civilians and sincere sympathy to their relatives.