Twenty killed in Sunni, Shia clashes in Yemen


Twenty gunmen were killed Thursday in clashes between Zaidi Shia rebels and Sunni Salafist gunmen in northern Yemen, a security official said. Clashes erupted in the morning in the northwestern Hajjah province between rebel gunmen, known as Huthis, and Sunni extremists, the local official told AFP.
The official said the gunfight took place in the city of Mustaba, close to the Red Sea port city of Midi, at the border with Saudi Arabia. Other clashes erupted between the Sunni Waela tribe and Shiite rebels in the province of Saada, the stronghold of the rebels.
Fighting between the Sunni fundamentalists and the Huthi rebels had raged over the past months in the northern town of Dammaj, south of Saada, where a Salafist Islamic teaching school was besieged by Huthi rebels. At least 71 people were killed in clashes that erupted in mid-October, a spokesman for the Dar al-Hadith school claimed in late December. The school trains Sunni preachers and believes in the strictest and most draconian interpretations of Islam.
In 2004, Zaidi Shias, who regularly complain of inequality and marginalisation by the central government, rebelled against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. Thousands of Yemenis were killed before a ceasefire was declared in February 2010.
Meanwhile, thousands of Yemenis demonstrated on Thursday in several cities voicing their rejection of a Gulf Arab deal to grant President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution, witnesses said.
In the capital Sanaa, protesters marched from Change Square, the focal point of almost a year of anti-Saleh demonstrations, through Al-Siteen street, an AFP correspondent reported.
Other protests were held across the country rejecting the immunity law for Saleh and his aides, drafted on Sunday by the transitional government that was formed after Saleh signed a Gulf plan easing him out of office by the end of February.
Protesters want those accused of killing demonstrators to be brought to justice.
The parliament is yet to convene to ratify the law.
In November, Saleh signed the deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aimed at ending the political crisis in the impoverished country.
Under the deal, he handed authority to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, and the opposition formed a national unity government.
Saleh serves now as an honorary president until polls are held in February to elect Hadi as his successor. A bloody crackdown on anti-Saleh demonstrations that erupted in January 2011 has claimed hundreds of lives.
Rights groups have slammed the immunity law, while UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said anyone who had committed abuses during the mass protests in Yemen must not be allowed to evade justice.


  1. As an american convert, college educated, one who studied Islam before my conversion and I might add did not do so to get married. I had the opportunity to live and study in Dammaj.. The religious school Dar ul Hadith does not teach a "draconian interpretation of Islam.(nor is it a training camp, nor are they stockpiling weapons and the houthis are known liars) It teaches what our beloved Prophet Muhammad -may the Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him- taught to be spread amongst all mankind.The Quran which is the Speech of Allah has been preserved to this day and is for all times.

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