Sunni Al Qaeda militants and Shi’ite Muslim rebels have fought a bloody battle in central Yemen, tribal sources said on Wednesday, amid fears of worsening sectarian tension in the impoverished Arabian country.

Thirty Shi’ite rebels and 18 Sunni fighters and their tribal allies were killed in the clashes, the tribal sources told Reuters. Shi’ite Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sanaa on Sept. 21 and their forces have fanned out to Yemen’s west and centre since then.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen’s Twitter page said it fought the rebels with light weapons and demolished their homes in the city of Radda in al-Bayda province over the course of several hours on Tuesday, an account confirmed by local tribesmen. […]