Twelve people were killed in Yemen as government forces clashed with Shiite-Muslim rebels who tried to enter the city of Amran, Al Arabiya TV reported.
The rebels known as Houthis overran an army checkpoint at the northern entrance of Amran after soldiers told them not to enter the city with their weapons, the Dubai-based channel said, citing its own correspondent. Eight rebels, two soldiers and two civilians were killed, the broadcaster said.
The Houthis planned to hold a demonstration inside Amran, said one of their leaders, Abdulkareem al-Khaiwani, by phone.
The Houthis have been expanding the territory under their control since October, driving away Sunni Salafis allied to tribesmen north of Sana’a. The Yemen Post on March 16 said President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi asked tribesmen to help defend Sana’a should the Houthis attack the capital, located 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Amran.