09/21/2009, 00.00
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Military and Shia rebels clash in Sa‘ada, 153 rebel fighters killed

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi’s fighters attack the presidential palace in the northern part of the country. The military calls in the air force. Two soldiers are killed and another 20, wounded. UN sources said that since 12 August about 150,000 people have been displaced.
Sanaa (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Yemeni forces killed 153 Shia rebels Sunday in north-western Yemen after they tried to take over the presidential palace in Sa‘ada. Local sources report that hundreds of fighters of Abdul-Malik al-Houthi on about 70 armoured vehicles attacked the city from different directions, firing on three checkpoints. Yemen’s military responded by calling in the air force.

During clashes on Sunday two soldiers were killed, and another 20, wounded.

Government sources said that 70 Houthi rebels surrendered to government forces.

The conflict between Shia separatists and the regular Yemeni forces has been going on for the past five years.

The government has accused Houthi’s forces of trying to set up an Iranian-styled system of government, like the one that existed in the country until the 60s.

The last few months have seen an escalation in violence which locals have dubbed the “sixth War of Sa‘ada”. The two sides have failed so far to reach a lasting truce, accusing each other of violence and brutality against the population,

Houthi Shiite rebels "took advantage" of a recent cease-fire and "executed a large-scale attack on government installations" in Sa‘ada, Yemeni government sources said.

Houthi fighters have accused the military of indiscriminately attacking civilians when they attack Shia positions.

The United Nations has recently said that fighting in the area between Yemeni forces and Houthi Shia rebels has displaced 150,000 people since the latest round of fighting began on 12 August.

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