Security officials and tribal leaders  say fierce clashes between Houthi fighters and Salafi tribesmen backed by national army units have killed at least 12 people in western Yemen.
Officials said on Friday that the clashes between Houthi fighters and tribesmen from the Salafi Islah party broke out late on Thursday in the city of Amran, located 52 kilometers (32 miles) northwest of the capital Sana'a.
An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated that five tribesmen and at least seven Houthis, including one of their leaders, were killed during the fighting.
Yemen’s Houthi movement, which draws its name from the tribe of its founding leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, has been fighting against the central government  in Sana’a for years.
The Shia fighters  blame the government for political, economic, and religious marginalization of the country’s Shia community and violating their civil rights.
In February, the Yemeni government agreed to transform the impoverished Arab state into a federation as part of a political transition. This would create four regions in the north and two in the south. But the government’s plan was flatly rejected by both the separatists in the south and the Houthi fighters, who argue that the initiative would divide Yemen into rich and poor regions.
The Houthi movement also played a key role in the popular revolution that forced former dictator  Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in February 2012.