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Yemen rebels ‘deny assassination bid’

Sanaa, February 13, 2010

Yemeni Shi'ite rebels denied an assassination attempt on an Interior Ministry official which took place on Friday, only hours after a ceasefire agreement, Al Jazeera television reported on Saturday.

Yemen's government and rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi agreed late on Thursday to a truce that began a few hours later at midnight (2100 GMT).

Interior Minister undersecretary Mohammed al-Qawsi, whose car was shot at on Friday in the northern city of Saada, said shortly after the attack that minor violations had occurred because not everyone was aware of the ceasefire, but that the deal still held.

A soldier was also killed by rebels on Friday.

No further details of the assassination denial were given by the television station on Saturday.

The Yemeni government, which is also battling a resurgent threat from al Qaeda and a separatist movement in the south, had been exchanging ceasefire proposals with the rebels for several days.

Both Houthi's rebels and the government issued statements late on Thursday calling for an end to the fighting, which the United Nations says has displaced 250,000 people.

Yemeni forces have been battling Houthi's supporters for more than five years and and previous ceasefires have not lasted.

The rebels, from the Zaidi sect of Shi'ite Islam, have long complained of social, religious and economic discrimination in a country with a Sunni Muslim majority. – Reuters




Tags: yemen | assassination | rebels | Sanaa | Shi’ite | Houthi |

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