Local officials, politicians and civilian Houthi figures credited with insulating Taiz from violence roiling the nation.
At least 14 Houthi rebels have been killed in fighting with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the country’s central province of al-Bayda.
Al Jazeera has learnt that AQAP and tribal fighters attacked positions held by the Shia rebels in the Qalala mountains in Radaa district of al-Bayda early on Sunday.
The clashes came amid claims by the Houthis that they had defeated rival tribesmen and taken control of Arhab – a district of greater Sanaa – on Saturday, expanding their control over the capital city.
They blew up seven buildings in Arhab, apparently owned by their opponents, despite a ceasefire agreement signed by all parties in September, sources told Al Jazeera.
Military and tribal officials said the Houthis used tanks and artillery to shell houses and neighbourhoods of rival tribes.
The fighting left dozens dead, they added, while AQAP said that two of their fighters were killed in clashes with the Houthis during the takeover of Arhab.
The rebel group already controls most of the capital and several other cities.
Also on Sunday, the Houthis sacked the president-appointed governor of Hodeida province, Sakhr Alwajih, and appointed Hassan Heij, a supporter of the rebels, instead.
The rise of the Houthis has challenged the authority of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a Western ally and violence has continued despite UN-backed efforts to find a political solution.
Instability in Yemen, which lies next to key shipping routes from the Suez Canal to the Gulf, arises from the 2012 overthrow of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been accused of backing the rebels.
Saleh is a member of the Zaidi sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam to which the Houthis belong.