SANAA - Eight people were killed in fighting between Sunni Muslim Salafis and Shi'ite Muslim rebels in northern Yemen on Saturday, a local official said, the latest flare-up of sectarian tension in the impoverished state.
Shi'ite rebels known as Houthis have exploited a year of political upheaval in Yemen to effectively carve out their own state within a state in the rugged province of Saada, which lies along the border with Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis have fought regularly with Salafis attending a religious college in the area. They accuse Riyadh of smuggling weapons to the Salafis because the two follow a similar creed.
The official said the confrontation took place on the outskirts of Saada city, when four Salafi students ventured up to a checkpoint manned by the Houthis. Four people died on either side and each blamed the other for firing the first shot.