SANAA - Yemeni Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters backed by government forces drove the local wing of al-Qaida from one of its last strongholds in central Yemen on Friday in intense fighting that killed at least 35 people, tribal sources said.
The Houthis' Ansarullah movement has become the main political force in Western-allied Yemen since capturing Sanaa in September and then pushing south and west into the Sunni Muslim heartland of al-Bayda province, where Ansar al-Sharia has allied itself with local tribes.
Yemen has been in turmoil since 2011, to the dismay of neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, and of the Western powers who want to prevent instability in the Arabian peninsula threatening their crude supplies or giving al-Qaida a base for overseas attacks.
Tribal sources said the Houthis had met stiff resistance as they pushed towards the village of Khobza district using Katuysha rockets and heavy artillery.
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