SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Security officials in Yemen say clashes in the northwest left five Shiite rebels and two soldiers dead on Saturday.
Shooting broke out when security forces prevented thousands of armed members of the Hawthi rebel group from entering the city of Amran to take part in a protest calling for the fall of the government, the officials said. They said five Hawthis and bystanders were also wounded in the fighting.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists. Though the clashes stopped, the city remains tense and security forces are deployed, they said. A six-year insurgency in the north led by the Hawthi tribe, members of a Shiite sect, officially ended in 2010. But the group has recently clashed with Sunni ultraconservatives.
Also on Saturday, the Yemeni Interior Ministry announced that militants blew up an oil pipeline south of the capital, Sanaa, late Friday night. Pipelines carrying oil and gas to coastal terminals in Yemen's mostly lawless south have been repeatedly attacked by militants and tribes with whom they have ties, or by clans demanding jobs and services.
Yemeni Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa said in a statement last week that the government has lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the last three years as a result of these attacks.