At least 17 police officers injured in rebel ambush in Yemen's capital
At least 17 police officers were injured during an ambush near Yemen’s capital Sunday in ongoing clashes between Sanaa and the minority Houthi Shiite rebels, according to Agence France Presse.
"Armed militants belonging to the Ansarullah Houthi (rebels) opened fire at security patrols carrying out their duties in the capital [on Saturday],” Yemen’s state news agency Saba reported.
Houthi militants allegedly opened fire on police patrols near to their representative office in the capital’s Al Jarraf district near the country’s Interior Ministry. The Houthis’ action was allegedly in response to the arrests of two wanted rebels Saturday, according to AFP’s security officials.
The Houthi rebels have been fighting with Sanaa as the former tries to “expand their sphere of influence in Yemen” ahead of the country’s implementation of its new six-state federation plan, which the rebels believe would ultimately divide the country into rich and poor regions, according to AFP. The Houthis, in particular, worry about the latter, already citing marginalization and discrimination both politically and socioeconomically under the current (and previous) governments.
Hundreds of Yemenis demonstrated outside of the president’s home in the capital in protest of “Sanaa’s inaction over the [Houthi]Shiite rebel advance on the capital,” according to the AFP report.
Sanaa has launched various air strikes on the Houthi strongholds over the past months, leaving “dozens” killed. However, no clear death toll figure has yet been reported. Sanaa has also sent more reinforcement troops near the Houthi-dominant areas as well as around the capital.
The ongoing fighting ceased briefly earlier this month when both sides agreed to an interim truce mediated by UN envoy Jamal Benomar. However, after only 11 days, the truce was broken and fighting resumed and has continued at a rapidly developing pace since then.