Shiite rebels attack police in Yemeni capital

Sana’a: Shiite Houthi rebels attacked police patrols in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a Saturday, wounding 17 policemen before taking them hostage, the interior ministry said in a statement.

“A group of Shiite Houthi gunmen intercepted two police pick-up vehicles which were on routine patrol in al-Jiraf neighbourhood in northern Sana’a on Saturday. The gunmen opened fire at the policemen, wounding 17 of them,” Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying in a statement posted on its website.

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The ministry accused the Shiite Houthi rebel group of smuggling weapons into the northern neighbourhoods of Sana’a and putting up barricades on road entrances.

Meanwhile, the rebel group posted a video clip on its website after the attack, saying that it has released the policemen in swap of its jailed fellows in a deal.

In the past two months, the Shiite rebels took over several towns and cities in the country’s northern regions, after weeks- long battles with tribesmen and government soldiers. More than 100 people were killed in the conflicts.

Humanitarian organisations said earlier this month that about 20,000 people in Amran province have been displaced due to heavy fighting between the government forces and the armed Shiite rebels.