September 9, 2014 / 1:23 PM / in 4 years

Yemeni army, Shi'ite rebels trade gunfire in capital

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni troops and Shi’ite Muslim rebels shot at each other at the Western entrance to the capital Sanaa, residents and security sources said, hours after soldiers killed at least four protesters outside the cabinet building.

Followers of the Shi'ite Houthi group gather near the cabinet building in Sanaa September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the clashes, but the escalation in weeks of anti-government sit-ins by religious insurgent group the Houthis threatens to engulf the impoverished Arabian country in an all-out conflict.

The Houthis are seeking to oust the government and reverse unpopular fuel price rises, but officials say they have a sectarian agenda to carve out their own semi-independent state and gain a veto power in national politics.

Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Alison Williams

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