Også Jemen herjes av kamper mellom shiaer og sunnier. De tilhører ulike stammer, og motsetningene suger derfor næring fra både religion og stamme.
Medlemmer av shia-stammen Houthi støtte sammen med medlemmer av Jemens største stammeforbund Hashid som får støtte av hæren. Houthi er i allianse med islamist-partiet Islah, som er del av Det muslimske brorskap.
35 ble drept og 40 såret i harde kamper søndag.
The official said Sunday that 15 soldiers and 20 rebels were killed in two days of fighting that began Friday in and around the city of Amran, northwest of the capital, Sana.
National army units fought alongside the tribesmen, and military warplanes struck the rebels who tried to attack a government compound late Saturday, the official said. He provided the information on the condition of anonymity, following his department’s policies.
Yemen, the poorest Arab nation, is facing multiple challenges. In addition to threats from an active offshoot of Al Qaeda, it faces a secessionist movement in the south and the Houthi rebellion in the north. Mediation efforts and cease-fires have failed to end the unrest.
The Houthi, who belong to the Zaydi sect, a Shiite branch, also accuse ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis of trying to proselytize in their strongholds.
Also on Sunday, gunmen attacked an army patrol, killing six soldiers in the southern province of Abyan, military and security officials said.
All officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
Yemen is home to one of the most active branches of Al Qaeda.
The government has waged repeated offensives to drive the militants out of the south, most recently this spring. The group retaliated with a series of attacks against troops and security-related sites.
In June, militants carried out coordinated attacks against an airport, a military barracks and a post office, killing 15.