Source: Bernama, 17/08/2010
SANAA- Yemen's interior ministry said Monday a government office and a hospital in the troubled northern province of al-Jouf were seized by rebels, China's Xinhua news agency reported.Around 50 armed rebels exchanged fire with local residents who tried to prevent them from taking over the facilities, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
"The armed Houthi (rebels) have managed to take control of the provincial education office and a governmental hospital after clashes with the local residents," said the statement."The clashes stopped immediately after the Houthis seized the two government buildings," it added.
However, the statement did not mention the number of casulties and whether security guards of the buildings were engaged in the clashes is also unclear.Meanwhile, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met on Monday here with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani, official Saba news agency reported.
The two leaders discussed issues regarding reactivating the Doha peace agreement between the Yemeni government and northern rebels mediated by Qatar, said Saba.
The visit came nearly one month after Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al- Thani met with Saleh on July 13, during which the two leaders agreed to reactivate the Doha peace agreement to cement the cease-fire deal between the northern rebels and the Yemeni government.
Since 2004, Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles between government troops and the Houthi rebels in the North.The government said the rebels were seeking to reestablish their clerical rule, which is overthrown by the 1962 Yemeni revolution that led to the creation of the Yemeni republic.
The government and the rebels signed a cease-fire deal mediated by Qatar at the beginning of 2008 in Doha, capital of Qatar, to end conflict in northern Yemen.On Aug 26, 2009, the government said the Doha agreement was over, saying the rebels should be responsible for the breakup.
On Feb 11, 2010, the government and the rebels struck another cease-fire agreement, but both sides were still trading accusations against each other over breaching the truce.