SANAA, Yemen, June 17 (UPI) -- Spiraling conflict and guerrilla activity in the north of Yemen has left more than 3,500 people internally displaced, aid workers tell the United Nations.
Rabab al-Rifai, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told the U.N. humanitarian news agency IRIN that clashes between rebels and government forces have forced more than 500 families to flee north Yemen.
"We are still assessing the situation and based on the result we will see how best to respond to the needs of the people who have recently fled their homes," she said.
Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi released a statement Monday saying government forces attacked several homes recently, killing scores of civilians in the north. The government, for its part, said Houthi and his supporters were blocking efforts to reach a peace initiative.
The government of Yemen claims modest success in terrorist reform initiatives as part of a rebranding campaign, but human-rights groups complain counter-terrorism programs there employ torture and other harsh tactics.
Meanwhile, conflicts between Houthi, who leads the Zaidiyyah insurgency in Sa'dah province, and the government continue to escalate as lawmakers claim his group is behind the latest spate of kidnappings.
Reports released Monday suggest at least three of the nine foreign nationals kidnapped in the north of the country during the weekend were found dead by Yemeni authorities.