Rebel Houthi fighters in northern Yemen have accused the government of breaking the latest ceasefire, saying there has been no sign of any let up in violence around the city of Saada.

But Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said the rebels, who are mostly from the Shia Zaydi sect, had ignored the ceasefire offer and accused them of killing civilians and using "human shields".

This comes after the government claimed it had killed more than 140 fighters who had attacked its regional headquarters.

Fighting between the rebels and government forces have flared since the army launched its latest operation in August in Saada and Amran provinces.

The government says the rebels want to restore a Shia state that fell in the 1960s and accuse Shia power Iran of maintaining contacts with them.

The rebels say they want autonomy and accuse Saleh, who is himself a Shia Zaydi, of despotism and corruption in a drive to stay in power, as well as introducing Sunni fundamentalism via his alliance with Saudi Arabia.

Imran Khan reports.

Source: Al Jazeera