Nov 28, 2:12 PM EST

Yemen's Shiite, Sunni rivals hold rare meeting

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SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemen's main Sunni Islamist party says its top leaders have met with the powerful Shiite rebels who have been battling it for months and control the capital, in a rare meeting that might help ease the country's political deadlock.

The Islah party says in a statement Friday that a delegation met with Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the leader of Shiite group known as the Houthis, on Thursday. The statement says the meeting was aimed at easing tensions between the rival groups.

The Houthis captured the capital in September after sweeping down from their northern stronghold and routing fighters loyal to the Islah party and its tribal allies. Opponents of the Houthis view them as a proxy of Shiite Iran determined to take over the country, charges the rebels deny.

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