Yemeni security officials say fierce clashes have erupted between Shiite rebels in control of the capital and tribesmen allied with the country's Islamist Islah party, leaving eight dead.

The officials say the Friday battles in Ibb province, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Sanaa, came as Shiite rebels known as Houthis seek to gain more territory outside the capital, which they overran last month. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The governor of Ibb, Yahia al-Iryani, urged the fighters to leave the province. In the adjacent province of Taiz, Major General Mahmoud al-Subehi, the military commander of the region, said he has bolstered its defenses and will defend it from the Houthis.