Sana'a, Yemen (ANTARA News) - Yemen's Shiite Houthi group slashed on the Saudi-led military operations on Sunday and vowed to take tougher actions to confront the coalition forces and Sunni tribal fighters.

The group's leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi condemned Saudi Arabia for interfering in Yemen's domestic affairs, saying that "we can decide our politics, form our government."

It is his first televised speech since March 26 when Saudi Arabia started daily airstrikes in Yemen that have destroyed many military camps controlled by the Houthis.

He did not reveal where he made the speech. However, military sources said the Houthi leader was hiding in the mountainous regions in the northern Saada province that borders the oil-rich neighbor.

"We took government institutions to protect those from al-Qaida. .. they asked us to withdraw from ministries and from southern provinces in order to let al-Qaida to seize them... and that will not happen," he said.

Yemens exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi named Prime Minister Khaled Bahah as vice president last week in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Bahah said negotiations involving all Yemeni political parties will not be held until Hadi returns to Aden and Houthis are disarmed.

On the same day, deadly fighting between pro-Hadi tribal militia and Houthi gunmen erupted early morning in the southern port city of Aden, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens of others, medical sources told Xinhua.

A senior commander of pro-Hadi tribal militia said that their fighters mounted coordinated attacks against the Houthi gunmen.

The source also claimed that their tribal fighters supported by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition forces have secured a number of areas in Aden after forcing the Houthi gunmen to retreat or surrender themselves to local authorities.

However, some sources close to the Houthis said their gunmen have not retreated but foiled the assaults by Hadi's followers against the state institutions and protected buildings of some foreign diplomatic missions in khorMaksar district from being looted.

Medical sources based in Aden confirmed to Xinhua that the fighting left at least 12 people killed and 35 others wounded, including civilians.

A health ministry official in Aden said that "more than 290 people were killed and about 2,800 others injured, mostly civilians since the beginning of fighting in the city."

According to statistics released by the Health Ministry and Interior Ministry, more than 600 people were killed and 3,000 wounded in the battles and airstrikes in the country since mid March.

In the southern province of Taiz, the Saudi-led coalition forces launched Sunday a series of airstrikes on several Houthi-controlled military sites and bombed the special security forces headquarters.

Just a few hours after the bombings, fierce conflicts broke out between army units loyal to Hadi and Houthi gunmen backed by soldiers of the elite republican guard forces in various areas in Taiz, according to local security sources.

An official of Taiz local government told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity that the Saudi-led air raids and the street fighting left more than 18 people killed.

He said that the persistent fighting as well as the intensified airstrikes have forced thousands of families in Hasab, BeerBasha, Kilab and Rada cites of Taiz province to flee.

In the southern al-Dhalea province, dozens of people were either killed or injured in fresh armed confrontations between pro-Hadi militia and Houthi gunmen since Sunday morning.

A tribal leader said that seven members of the Houthi group were killed and 13 others critically wounded in al-Dhalea province.

Yemens southern provinces have witnessed a drastic escalation of violence since mid March when fighting erupted between Houthi gunmen and tribal militia loyal to Hadi who is currently in Saudi Arabia after fleeing his presidential palace in Aden last month.

The deadly fighting still flares over the control of the main port city of Aden and about five other southern provinces that caused severe shortages of basic supplies such as foods, drinking water, medicine and fuel.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia started late last month airstrikes on Houthi targets in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and other cities, saying the multinational action is to protect President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's legitimacy and force the Houthis to retreat from cities they have seized since September 2014.

Editor: Ade P Marboen
Copyright © ANTARA 2015