Source: Yemen Times
At least seven people were killed in clashes that broke out late Tuesday between the Houthis and military units backed by pro-government tribesmen in the Al-Safra area of Al-Jawf, northeast of Sana’a.
Abdulhameed Amer, head of the Islah Party office in Al-Jawf, said that the Houthis attacked military locations in Al-Safra and Al-Hajr, in addition to the strategic Al-Saleh Fort overlooking Al-Safra. Islah and the Houthis are strongly opposed to each other and relations between the two groups often turn violent.
Amer said that the Houthis are trying to regain control of Al-Safra after they were driven out by soldiers from the Maeen Military Camp and Popular Committees early last month in clashes that left several casualties on both sides.
The Houthis gained control of Al-Safra and the Al-Saleh Fort during the 2011 uprising against the regime of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh but later relinquished them.
“The tribesmen will not allow them to control these locations again because the Houthis used to loot the supplies of the military and block the road,” said Amer.
Sheikh Mohammed Salem Bin Abood Al-Sharif, governor of Al-Jawf, called on Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser and Brigadier Mohammed Al-Haweri, the commander of the 6th Military Command, to send troops to end the conflict in Al-Jawf.
Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, spokesperson for the Houthis, told the Yemen Times that militias of the Islah Party are stationed in Al-Safra Military Camp, adding that the Houthis would not allow these militias to control locations that are supposed to be controlled by the military.
“These militias attack Houthi locations through Al-Safra. The Houthis are the majority in Al-Jawf,” he added.
Amer denied that Islah members are involved in the fighting.
The clashes in Al-Jawf follow protracted fighting in Amran governorate and the Hamdan and Bani Matar districts of Sana’a governorate, where the Houthis recently seized key military locations including the headquarters of the 310th Armored Brigade.
The 9th Brigade, which is stationed in Houthi-controlled Sa’ada and is seen by the Houthis as a more neutral force, on Sunday deployed troops in the area around Al-Dhain Mountain in Hamdan.
Amer Al-Marani, a leading Houthi figure in Amran, told the Yemen Times that assigning the 9th Brigade to Al-Dhain Mountain will help bring an end to clashes because the brigade is not politically affiliated.
A committee headed by Nasser and Al-Haweri visited Hamdan on Monday. The committee assigned Brigadier Ali Al-Thafif, commander of the 9th Brigade, to supervise all military locations in the area including Al-Dhain Mountain, which overlooks Sana’a International Airport.
President Hadi on Monday called on the Houthis to withdraw from Amran, hand over weaponry seized in the conflict, and release captives, according to the state-run Saba News Agency.