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Yemen's Houthis blow up Islamist party office in Sanaa

Militants from the Shia Houthi group in Yemen blew up the office of a political party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Sanaa's northern district of Arhab, eyewitnesses said Sunday.

According to the witnesses, the Houthi militants destroyed the three-story building belonging to the Yemeni Al-Islah party in the district of Arhab.

Before it was blown up, the building had been evacuated by force, the witnesses said.

Al-Islah party has yet to comment on the incident, which came shortly after Houthi militants blew up a religious center in the same district, according to a tribal source, who didn't clarify if there have been any casualties or not.

Houthi leaders could not be immediately reached for a comment.

On Saturday, the powerful Arhab tribe decided to withdraw its fighters from flashpoint areas in the district that carries the same name in order to avoid clashes with the Shiite Houthi militants, a source had told Anadolu Agency.

Houthi militants, however, were still deployed at several checkpoints and mountainous areas despite the withdrawal of the tribesmen, the source said.

Since they took control of capital Sanaa in late September, the Houthis have sought to expand their influence to other parts of the country farther afield.

The Houthis' growing power in fractious Yemen has raised fears of sectarian conflict in the poor Arab country, which has remained in turmoil since a 2011 popular uprising ended the decades-long rule of president Ali Abdullah Saleh one year later.

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