Northern Yemen Truce Strained as Fighting Kills 69

Yemeni MPs Press Govt to Crush Shi'ite Rebels

by Jason Ditz, July 22, 2010

The truce between the Yemeni government and the northern Houthi rebels appears to be on the verge of collapse tonight, after reports of growing clashes over the last five days have left at least 69 people dead across the region.

Yemen’s Army declined taking direct part in the fighting, but insisted that they were called in to break up fighting between Houthis and a militia loyal to ruling party MP Sheikh Sagheer Aziz. The Houthis, for their part, say they clashed with the army as well.

The ceasefire with the Shi’ite Houthis was announced in February, following months of clashes which had the group capturing a number of Saudi soldiers and attacking several Saudi border towns. It was just one of several major conflicts the Yemeni government had been dealing with, including a growing secessionist movement in the south and the rise of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) movement.

The ceasefire had been useful in allowing the Yemeni government to work on crushing the other rebel movements, but a growing number of MPs are calling for a resumption of the war in the north. At least 62 MPs are said to have signed a petition calling for a new offensive to help Aziz assume control over the region.

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