Yemen's Houthis deny murder attack on minister

Yemeni Shi'ite fighters denied an assassination attempt on an Interior Ministry official which took place, Al Jazeera television reported.

Yemen's Houthis deny murder attack on minister

Yemeni Shi'ite fighters denied an assassination attempt on an Interior Ministry official which took place on Friday, only hours after a ceasefire agreement, Al Jazeera television reported on Saturday.

Yemen's government and fighter leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi agreed late on Thursday to a truce that began a few hours later at midnight (2100 GMT).

Interior Minister undersecretary Mohammed al-Qawsi, whose car was shot at on Friday in the northern city of Saada, said shortly after the attack that minor violations had occurred because not everyone was aware of the ceasefire, but that the deal still held.

No further details of the assassination denial were given by the television station on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The Yemeni government had been exchanging ceasefire proposals with the fighters for several days. Both Houthi's fighters and the government issued statements late on Thursday calling for an end to the fighting, which the United Nations says has displaced 250,000 people.

Yemeni forces have been battling Houthi's supporters for more than five years and previous ceasefires have not lasted.

The fighters, from the Zaidi sect of Shi'ite Islam, have long complained of social, religious and economic discrimination in a country with a Sunni Muslim majority.

The ceasefire

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, declared the ceasefire on Thursday night after the Houthis agreed to accept six conditions put forward by the government.

"We have decided to halt military operations in the northwestern region ... to stop bloodshed, bring peace to the region," the president's office said in a statement.

Led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the brother of the movement's late leader, the group has been in conflict with the government since 2004, but the fighting intensified last year.

Agencies

Last Mod: 13 Şubat 2010, 14:36
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