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Houthi militia abduct senior Yemen intelligence official

Shitte militants storm Marrani's residence, taken him to unknown place
Houthi militants control entrance and exit to Yemen's city of Taizz on 10 December, 2014 (AA)

A senior Yemeni intelligence official was abducted in Sanaa on Thursday by Shiite fighters from the Houthis militia in control of the capital since a September offensive, security sources said.

"General Yahia al-Marrani... was kidnapped this morning by armed Houthis from his home in Sanaa," a source told AFP.

Another source said that about 20 Houthis had stormed Marrani's residence and taken him to an unknown location.

The kidnapping was confirmed to AFP by a relative of the officer, who had served for five years as head of the police intelligence unit in Saada province, a Houthi stronghold in north Yemen.

He was named as a director in Yemen's intelligence services by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, who took power following a 2012 uprising that unseated longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen has been rocked by instability since the Shiite fighters, who are also known as Ansarullah, seized control of Sanaa on September 21.

The Houthis have since expanded their presence in central and western Yemen, but have been met by fierce resistance from Sunni tribes and a-Qaeda militants.

Meanwhile, two people were killed and six others injured in Thursday clashes between Yemeni security forces and armed tribesmen in the southern Lahj province, a local official has said.

"Tribesmen blocked a main road in the province, prompting security forces to launch a campaign to reopen the road," the official, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency.

Two tribesmen were killed and six others injured in the ensuing clashes, the official said.

No casualties were reported among security forces.

According to the official, tribesmen had blocked the road to demand the release of a detained colleague.

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