Sanaa (AFP) - A senior Yemeni intelligence official was abducted in Sanaa on Thursday by Shiite fighters from the Huthi militia in control of the capital since a September offensive, security sources said.
"General Yahia al-Marrani... was kidnapped this morning by armed Huthis from his home in Sanaa," a source told AFP.
Another source said that about 20 Huthis 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 Huthi 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 Huthis have since expanded their presence in central and western Yemen, but have met fierce resistance from Sunni tribes and Al-Qaeda militants.
Fresh clashes erupted overnight around the central city of Rada, which has been the scene of heavy fighting for several weeks.
A tribal source told AFP that 18 Huthi fighters and seven tribesmen were killed in violence that continued sporadically into Thursday in the villages of Qaifah, Khobzah and Massameh.
A further 12 Shiite militiamen were killed in the previous 24 hours in clashes with Al-Qaeda fighters near Rada, according to a tribal source.
And in neighbouring Ibb province, Huthi gunmen stormed a Sunni religious school on Wednesday evening and "kidnapped several students," a local official told AFP.