Sanaa: Tribesmen loyal to a powerful opposition chief have taken control of state news agency Saba in Sanaa, a high-ranking official and witnesses said on Wednesday, as fighting in the Yemeni capital resumed.

Clashes between security forces and Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar's tribesmen broke out in Sanaa on Monday and have left at least 44 people dead, according to an AFP tally based on reports by medics, the government and tribesmen.

The tribesmen also hold the national airline Yemenia and have tried to occupy the interior ministry headquarters, according to witnesses and the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Sheikh al-Ahmar's men are required to withdraw from the buildings under their control," the official said. "Otherwise, we will force them to do so."

A Saba journalist said that tribesman had taken over state news agency's headquarters during the night.

"Armed men stormed the Saba headquarters during the night and demanded that we leave," the journalist said on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, a Yemeni official said on condition of anonymity that the tribesmen had taken over the trade and industry ministry.

The buildings controlled by followers of Sheikh al-Ahmar, who heads the powerful Hashid tribal federation, are located in the Al-Hasaba neighbourhood, where he lives, and adjoining streets.

Access to the area has been cut by cement blocks and burning tyres placed in the streets.

There was a lull in the fighting early today, but gun battles broke out again later in the day, reports said.