More Middle East violence: Yemeni Shi’ites capture city after fighting kills 200

Omran, Yemen

(Reuters) – Shi’ite Muslim fighters captured one of the main cities in northern Yemen on Tuesday, a local official and residents said, after fighting that has killed at least 200 people and puts the Shi’ites on the outskirts of the capital.

The fall of Omran represents a major blow to the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has been trying to stabilise the U.S.-allied country following nearly three years of turmoil that forced his predecessor to step down.

The Shi’ite Houthis, named after the tribe of their leader, said their fight was against rivals loyal to the Islamist Islah party, and they had no intention of attacking the capital Sanaa, just south of Omran.

Very close to the capital, Sanaa

Local officials and witnesses said the Houthis seized Omran after battles in which about 100 were killed and 150 wounded on Tuesday alone, following more than 100 deaths in previous days. Fighting continued around an army camp in the city, they said…

Omran has long been a stronghold of Bani al-Ahmar, one of the most powerful tribes in Yemen. Prominent figures from the mainly Sunni Muslim clan are top leaders in Islah or hold senior positions in the armed forces or the government.

Hadi recently warned that Omran was a red line and he would not tolerate it falling into Houthi hands…

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