Since June 2004, violent conflict has taken place in Saada, killing several thousand and displacing 250,000 people countrywide. Known in English as the Shia insurgency in Yemen, the conflict has its roots in an insurgency against the government of Yemen which was initiated by the Zaidi religious leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi in 2004. A ceasefire, brokered in June 2007, was followed by a peace agreement in February 2008. By April 2008, however, the peace process was in jeopardy as each side of the conflict accused the other of failing to implement aspects of the peace agreement. Analysts suggest that renewed conflict will damage the humanitarian situation in the region. In May 2008, it was estimated that there were 77,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Saada as a result of the conflict.
As of 2013, the Houthis, as the Zaidi rebels are called, were firmly entrenched in Saada, and were also active in several neighboring governorates.