x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Yemeni rebels admit killing tribal chief

Al Houthi Shiite rebels denied today ambushing the convoy of a tribal chief on Tuesday but admitted that he was killed in a confrontation with their members.

SANA'A // Yemen's al Houthi Shiite rebels denied today ambushing the convoy of a tribal chief on Tuesday but admitted that he was killed in a confrontation with their members. Yemen's top security agency, the Supreme Security Committee, accuses the Houthis of ambushing Sheikh Zaidan al Maknaee, his son and four bodyguards in Munabih district in the northern province of Sa'ada, in which all the men were killed. But Mohammed Abdulsalam, a spokesman for the rebels, refuted the allegation in a telephone interview, saying the men were killed in a shootout the Houthis.Although the government and the rebels reached a truce in February to bring an end to five years of intermittent fighting, sporadic clashes have been reported, mainly between the rebels and tribesmen loyal to the government. According to local sources, more than 30 people were killed and dozens wounded in fierce clashes between over the past two days.

The Houthis on Tuesday expressed support for the revival of the Qatar-brokered peace agreement between them and the government. "We welcome Qatar's initiative in promoting peace and we have informed the Qatar government of our welcome," Mr Abdulsalam said in a statement. Yemen and Qatar announced last week the revival of the Doha peace agreement struck in 2008. Meanwhile, dozens of MPs are continuing a sit-in at the parliament premises that began on Tuesday in protest against the unstable security situation in the north and the increasing attacks by rebels against the local tribesmen. The Houthis complain about political and economic disrimination while the governmnet has accused them of working to restablish the Immamate rule, which was overthrown in 1962 revolution. malqadhi@thenational.ae