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27 killed in clashes between rebels, ultraconservative tribesmen and troops in Yemen

Clashes between Shiite northern rebels, ultraconservative Sunni tribesmen and military troops left 27 killed in the country's restive northwest, security officials and tribesmen said Tuesday.

The security officials said military troops bombed al-Makhath, a village in the northwestern Amran province after clashes erupted between armed members of the Hawthi rebel group and the ultraconservative Sunni tribesmen. The officials and tribesmen said 15 Hawthi rebels, seven Sunnis, and five troops, including an officer, were killed in the clashes. The security officials said the Hawthi rebels seized a military base in the area.

It is not immediately clear what ignited the fighting.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

A six-year insurgency in the north led by the Hawthi tribe, in northern Saada province, along the Saudi border, officially ended in 2010. But the group has recently clashed with Sunni ultraconservatives.

The Hawthis, who belong to the Zaydi sect, a Shiite branch, accuse the Sunni ultraconservative of trying to spread their school of thought in their strongholds. Mediation efforts and cease-fires have failed to end the tension in the area.

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