Ten Shiite Zaidi rebels were killed and 38 wounded in clashes with police outside the headquarters of Yemen’s national security services in Sanaa on Sunday, a senior security official said.
The official said the violence broke out as the rebels, among a crowd demanding the release of members of their community, attacked the building with automatic weapons and grenades.
The assailants were “well-prepared and aimed to infiltrate the headquarters”, he said, adding they had used neighbouring buildings to launch their raid on security forces backed by special police units.
The official said 10 attackers were killed, 38 wounded and 87 others detained.
They had infiltrated a crowd of around 500 Zaidis demonstrating in front of the building to demand the release of fellow Zaidis being held by the authorities, he said.
The official said earlier that some of those detained were “suspected of (sharing) intelligence with Iran”.
The Zaidi rebels, also known as Huthis after their leader Abdel Malek al-Huthi, had rebelled in 2004 against the government of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, accusing it of marginalising them politically and economically.
Fighting between them and Yemeni forces killed thousands of people before a ceasefire was reached in February 2010.
The Zaidis are participating in an ongoing national dialogue launched in March to discuss the impoverished country’s main problems, including the issue of the Huthi rebellion.
The Zaidis belong to an offshoot of Shiite Islam and are a minority in Sunni Yemen.