Rebels and Islamists clash in Yemen, killing 30

October 31, 2013 GMT

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A spokesman of an Islamic Salafi movement says at least 30 people have been killed in clashes with northern rebels over two days, an escalation of fighting in the country’s restive north.

Serour al-Wadie, a spokesman of the Salafi movement, said Thursday that Hawthi rebels have been shelling their district in Damaj, in Saada province. Al-Wadie said the rebels started the attack because they say Salafis are harboring foreign jihadi fighters. He said that his forces responded with gunfire.

Salafis are accused of trying to spread their school of thought in a stronghold of Hawthi, who belong to the Zaydi sect, a Shiite branch. They have been fighting the government of Yemen’s ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh for years.