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article imageFresh clashes in Yemen leave several dead amid U.S. tension

By Andrew Moran     May 11, 2010 in World
Sanaa - New clashes between Houthi fighters and Yemeni government forces have left several soldiers and rebels dead despite a ceasefire agreement between the two sides. The same time as Yemen announced it will not extradite Anwar al-Awlaki.
Throughout 2009, Yemen became a strong focal point in the war on terror due to al-Qaeda’s presence in the region, the Christmas Day bomber having connections to Yemen and President Barack Obama authorizing military forces to either capture or kill U.S. born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
All of this prompted Washington Senators calling for action in the region, such as Independent Senator Joe Lieberman who went as far as saying Yemen was the “war of tomorrow” and a "poor man's Afghanistan" and Democratic Senator Carl Levin calling for “clandestine action” and drones in the country.
Ceasefire agreement violated, new violence begins
On Monday, new violence erupted between Houthi rebels and government forces as the two sides exchanged gunfire for about an hour and a half, according to Press TV. The violence began when Yemeni forces ambushed a vehicle that had a top Houthi leader in the Amran province.
The clash resulted in the deaths of two Yemeni soldiers and of several Houthi fighters, reports the Yemen Post.
“The exchange of fire between the Houthis and the army took place after a vehicle belonging to the Houthis was overturned on the road of Bart triangle,” said one Yemeni official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Yemeni government accuses the Houthis of violating the ceasefire first
Yemeni government accuses the Houthis of violating the ceasefire first
The government of Yemen did state this week that the Houthis threatened the ceasefire pact when they began to occupy numerous area schools in April, reports the United Press International.
Head of the Sa’ada provincial education office, Mohammed al-Shamiri, told the United Nations humanitarian news agency IRIN that the Houthi rebels are occupying area schools and are preventing teachers from entering the premise.
“They are preventing teachers from entering these schools which they have decked out with 'Death to America and Israel' and 'Victory to Islam' slogans," said al-Shamiri.
According to security analysts, the occupation has also led to the Houthis attempting to recruit teenage boys because “teenagers could be worthier fighters in the long term than older men.”
Yemen will not extradite Anwar al-Awlaki, will face trial in Yemen if caught
All of this latest violence comes as the Yemeni government said they would not extradite al-Awlaki to the U.S. but will instead put him on trial if he is arrested in the country, according to Reuters.
Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi told the state news agency Saba that due to al-Awlaki’s involvement in terrorism, he is now wanted by the government of Yemen and will face trial “under national law.”
It is believed that al-Awlaki had contact with the Nigerian Christmas Day bomber and the U.S. army Fort Hood psychiatrist that was accused of shooting 13 people.
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