Dozens of Houthi rebels have been killed in a suicide bombing in central Yemen while celebrating the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.

At least 49 Shia fighters were killed in the attack in Ibb on Wednesday when a suicide bomber dressed as a woman detonated explosives at a gathering in a cultural centre.

The large explosion also wounded 70 people, medics at the scene told the AFP news agency.

An initial toll gave at least 33 dead and dozens wounded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have previously threatened to launch fierce attacks against the movement.

In another development, at least 34 people, including 25 Houthis, six tribesmen and three AQAP fighters, were killed between Tuesday and Wednesday in the Radaa district of central Yemen.

Fighting broke out in the villages of Khubza and Almanaseh when the Houthis tried to take the villages from local tribesmen.

Previously based in the northern highlands where the Zaidi Shia minority is concentrated, the Houthis have been expanding their territory in western and central Yemen, since storming the capital Sanaa in September.

Establishing themselves as Yemen's new powerbrokers, the Houthis have been accused of trying to settle old scores as they wage battles with opposing tribes and AQAP fighters.

Source: Al Jazeera