Battle of Sa'dah
In February 2011, after the success of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and Tunisian Revolution, the Arab Spring spread to many countries including Yemen. Houthis declared their support for the 2011 Yemeni uprising against Saleh and large crowds of Houthi followers joined the protests on their 10th day. During February and March, thousands of protesters held weekly marches in Sa'dah city from the gates of the old city to the security barracks of Saleh's army.
Houthi fighters stormed the town on 19 March, allegedly blowing up houses and inflicting heavy civilian casualties. This led to a heavy conflict with the Al Abdin tribes, led by pro-government Sheikh Uthman Mujalli, in which 45 people were killed and 13 houses were destroyed. Houthis then attacked the Telmus military site, overlooking the city and captured numerous machine guns, mortar shells, guns and tanks. Houthis prevailed in the fighting and burned down Sheikh Mujalli's house, destroying all his possessions and seizing sixteen cars. Sa'dah governor Taha Hajer then fled the province to Sana'a and police deserted their posts, after which all the leaders of the Sa'dah army headquarters handed over their military equipment and bases to the Houthi group. By 27 March they were said to be fully in control of the town, running all the government facilities and control checkpoints and controlling all entrances to the city.
On 26 March, Houthi field commander Abu Ali appointed Fares Mana'a, one of the Middle East's most prominent arms dealers and former ally to Saleh, as governor of Sa'dah. Mana'a broke with Saleh after he had been imprisoned by him for months in Sana'a and he resigned from the ruling GPC party to join forces with the Houthis along with several other prominent Sa'dah politicians. Houthis later declared a separate administration fully independent from the government of Yemen, consisting of rebels, residents and defected military commanders.
- Houthis Control Sa’ada, Help Appoint Governor
- Press TV Houthis join protests in north Yemen, February 22, 2011
- Yemeni Uprising Opens a Door to Besieged Rebels in the North, December 16, 2011
- Sa'ada: A Cry for Help
- Houthi Group Appoints Arms Dealer as Governor of Sa'ada province
- Yemeni regime loses grip on four provinces
- Washington Post Yemen crisis intensifies with factory explosion, March 29, 2011
- Anti-U.S. rebels’ triumph in northern Yemen brings peace to embattled region, October 25, 2012
- Yemen's 'Death to America' rebels bring calm to northern Yemen, October 28, 2012