At least ten people were killed Monday in clashes between Yemeni Shiite Houthi rebels and followers of pro-Sunni Islamic Islah Party in the northeast province of Al-Jouf, said the Defense Ministry.
"Ten people from the opposition Islamic Islah Party and Shiite Houthi rebels were killed and several others injured in clashes that erupted after Houthis found out a member of the Islah Party wearing an explosive belt and killed him before he attempted to blow himself up during Houthis' annual religious festival of Eid al-Ghadeer in al-Mutoon district in Al-Jouf," said the ministry in a statement posted on its website.
Meanwhile, the Houthi's media office said in a statement that " they foiled Monday a suicide bomb attack targeted a festival gathering of their supporters in al-Mutoon district."
"An unidentified person tried to join a procession of Houthi supporters en route to celebrate the day of al-Ghadeer festival, and when the procession's escorts intercepted him, they found a wire of an explosive belt concealed with him," said the Houthi statement, obtained by Xinhua.
"The escorts shot him dead before he blew himself up," the statement said, blaming the suicide attempt on a "plot by the U.S. intelligence."
Yemen's government has long been accusing the Shiite rebels of seeking to dominate the northern provinces and restoring a clerical rule overthrown by the 1962 Yemeni revolution.
On Aug. 26, 2010, the Yemeni government and the Shiite group signed an agreement in Doha to cement a fragile cease-fire in northern Yemen to end the sporadic battles since 2004, but the rebels' clashes with government forces, local tribesmen and Sunni supporters are still rocking the region.