Shiite rebels who descended from northern Yemen to seize parts of Sanaa have clashed with Al-Qaeda-linked militants hundreds of kilometres (miles) south of the capital, a US monitor said Monday.
The rare clashes between the Huthi rebels and militants from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar al-Sharia occurred over the weekend in the town of Al-Dali, SITE Intelligence Group said in a statement.
The fighting broke out on Saturday when militants captured and killed a businessman linked to the Huthis, SITE reported, citing a post from a Ansar al-Sharia news account on Twitter.
According to the report, four militants from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were killed along with the same number of Huthis.
The next day Ansar al-Sharia militants captured eight Huthis.
Al-Dali is located 250 kilometres (155 miles) south of the Yemeni capital.
The United States considers AQAP to be Al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate.
The group has taken advantage of a decline in central government control during Yemen’s 2011 uprising to seize large swathes of territory across the south and southeast.
The Huthis, who launched a bid for power in the Yemeni capital last month, had waged a decade-long insurgency in their mountainous bastion in the north of the Arabian Peninsula country.
Their presence in the south is normally weak, and rarely engage in combat with AQAP militants.