Clashes between Houthi fighters and tribesmen have killed at least 15 people in the oil-producing central Yemen Marib province, tribal and medical sources have said.
At least 15 people were killed in heavy fighting between Houthi fighters and tribesmen in the oil-producing Marib province in central Yemen, tribal and medical sources said on Tuesday, as Saudi-led air strikes against the Iran-allied militia continued.
Yemeni Vice President Khaled Bahah on Monday had called on the Houthis to heed a U.N. Security Council demand for an end to fighting. The conflict has pushed Yemen into a humanitarian “catastrophe”, according to the Red Cross.
The Houthis occupied the capital Sanaa in September last year, demanding political change. Talks with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi soured quickly and he announced his resignation, effectively leaving the reins of the central government in the Houthi’s hands.
Rattled by what they see as expanding Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula, a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes in late March. Riyadh announced a halt to its campaign last week, but fighting has intensified again since Sunday.
Residents said there were heavy clashes overnight in Marib province east of Sana’a, in the city of Taiz in central Yemen, and in the southern port city of Aden.
At least 15 people were killed in the district of Sirwah and around Marib city, the sources said, as tribesmen allied with Hadi tried to stop Houthis and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from advancing on the provincial capital.
The Houthis say their advance on Marib is to flush out militants belonging to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active branches of the Sunni Muslim militant network and an enemy of the Shi’ite Houthis.