A Yemeni security officer checks a vehicle at a checkpoint set up at the entrance to the capital Sanaa, on October 27, 2013
A Yemeni security officer checks a vehicle at a checkpoint set up at the entrance to the capital Sanaa, on October 27, 2013 © Mohammed Huwais - AFP/File
A Yemeni security officer checks a vehicle at a checkpoint set up at the entrance to the capital Sanaa, on October 27, 2013
AFP
Last updated: November 1, 2013

Ten Yemen Islamists killed in Huthi rebel attack

The Red Cross called Friday for an "immediate" ceasefire in deadly clashes between Zaidi Shiite rebels and Sunni Islamists in northern Yemen to allow the wounded to be evacuated.

Friday's latest fighting in Saada province left one dead and seven wounded, raising to 11 the death toll since Wednesday, according to tribal officials.

The fighting with mortars and rockets has been concentrated on the Mazraa mosque and a Koranic school held by the Islamists in the village of Dammaj, circled by Zaidi rebels.

"The ongoing clashes have been preventing us reaching people who urgently need our help," said Cedric Schweizer, the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation head in Sanaa.

"Every minute we lose waiting to get into Dammaj and the surrounding area is a potential life lost," he warned in a statement.

"We are calling for an immediate and solid ceasefire, which would allow our colleagues to evacuate the wounded and deliver life-saving care."

Dammaj, where the school for Sunni preachers has operated since the 1980s, has been the scene of frequent clashes between Sunni Islamists and the Zaidis for whom Saada is a stronghold.

The Ansarullah (partisans of God) Shiite rebels, in a statement, charged that Sunni extremists had "transformed the centre of Dammaj into a real barracks for thousands of armed foreigners.

At least 42 people were killed in 10 days of clashes last month in Amran province, also in northern Yemen, and the central Ibb region.

The Zaidis, also known as Huthis after their late leader Abdel Malek al-Huthi, rose up in 2004 against the government of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, accusing it of marginalising them politically and economically.

Thousands of people were killed in the uprising before a ceasefire was agreed in February 2010.

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