World Bulletin / News Desk
At least 40 people were killed in clashes between Yemeni army troops and gunmen affiliated with the Shiite Houthi militant group in the northern province of Al-Jawf, a local official said.
"As many as 30 Houthi militants were killed in fierce clashes with army troops backed by armed tribesmen in Al-Gheil directorate since Friday night," the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Anadolu Agency.
"Around 10 troops and tribesmen were also killed in the confrontation," he said, adding that sporadic clashes are still underway in the area.
The northern province of Al-Jawf has recently turned into a battleground between the army and allied tribesmen on one hand and Houthi militants on the other.
Violence first erupted in the flashpoint province in April, resulting in casualties on both sides.
A few weeks ago, a presidential mediation committee succeeded in brokering a temporary ceasefire between the warring camps – but this proved short-lived.
Al-Jawf is strategically important in that it is located near Yemen's eastern Maarib province, the center of the country's oil production.
The latest round of fighting comes as thousands of Houthi supporters have been staging massive protests in Sanaa for the last several weeks to demand the dismissal of the government and the reversal of an earlier government decision to slash fuel subsidies.
The group has been long accused by local tribes of attempting to seize control of their territory in the north of the country.
Earlier confrontations in the country's north between the Houthis and Yemeni army troops have left hundreds dead and injured on both sides.
Yemen has been dogged by turmoil since pro-democracy protests forced autocratic president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in 2012 after 33 years in power.Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2014, 11:53