The violence erupted on October 30 when the Houthi rebels who control much of the northern Saada province accused Salafis in the town of Damaj of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters to prepare to attack them.

The Salafis say the foreigners are students seeking to deepen their knowledge of Islam.

Surour al-Wadi'i, a Salafi spokesman, said the death toll among Salafis had risen to 210, with 620 wounded.

No casualty figures were available for the Houthis.

Sectarian rivalry in Damaj has cast a shadow over reconciliation efforts in Yemen, a neighbour of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and home to one of al Qaeda's most active wings.

(Agencies)

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