On January 16, 2012, the town of Rada'a fell into control of Al Qaeda militants. The militants overran army positions and freed 150 inmates from a local prison. A week later, the militants withdrew after striking a deal with tribal leaders. Under the agreement, more Al Qaeda operatives were to be freed from the central security prison and a council was to be formed to govern the town.
Tribesmen affiliated with al Qaeda clashed with the Houthis when the ZaidiShia militancy swept into the governorate, with at least 80 dying in fighting in October 2014 and dozens more being killed in renewed fighting in January 2015.