Yemeni security officials and tribal leaders say clashes between Shiite rebels and Islamist tribesmen have killed 40 people over two days in the country's north.

The officials said Saturday the fighting in al-Jawf province killed 18 of the Hawthi rebels and 22 tribesmen who are backed by an army unit and allied with the Muslim Brotherhood's Islah party. The battle left dozens of wounded on both sides.

The officials said tribesmen have managed to take control of Hawthi positions some 175 kilometers (109 miles) east of the capital Sanaa.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Hawthis have been camping for nearly three weeks in the capital near key installations, calling for the government's removal and the reinstatement of fuel subsidies.