Posted : Mon, 09 Apr 2007 17:43:01GMT
Author : DPA
Sana'a - At least 35 government troops and 50 Shiite rebel fighters have been killed in fighting in the restive province of Saada in northern Yemen over the past week, a government official said on Monday. Local sources in Saada however put the number of fatalities among troops at around 150 and the rebels at about 400.
Scores of other soldiers and rebels loyal to local Shiite leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi were wounded in continued battles in Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said the fighting was taking place mainly in the Dhahian town north of the provincial city of Saada, some 240 kilometres from the capital Sana'a.
"What is going on now is guerrilla fight from house to house," the official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Saada has been the scene of fierce battles between the army and rebel fighters acting under the umbrella of the underground Believing Youth movement late last December after authorities accused rebels of attacking military and police posts in the province.
Authorities have accused the rebels of trying to topple the republican regime and establish an Islamic state, saying that "foreign parties" have been supporting them.
The Believing Youth group was first established by Shiite cleric Hussein Badruddin al-Houthi in mid-2004. Hussein was killed in clashes with the army in September 2004.
Bloody confrontations between the rebels and the army have since left more than 720 government troops dead, according to the official toll. Hundreds of rebels have also been killed.
Yemeni media reports recently quoted government officials accusing Iran and Libya of financing the rebels. Both states have denied the charge.
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