SANAA, June 7 (Reuters) - A Yemeni defence ministry Web site said on Thursday that government forces were close to controlling areas in the north where Shi'ite rebels are holed in after taking over some of their positions.
"Our armed forces were able to take over important positions in which elements of terror and sabotage were positioned ... and inflicted large losses among them," the Web site, www.26sep.net, quoted a military source as saying without giving figures.
"The military operations are close to their end," he said. Rebel sources were not immediately available for comment.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have fled their homes since the clashes between government security forces and the rebels led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi began in January.
The military source said many rebels surrendered as the forces advanced confiscating large amounts of weapons and ammunitions.
The rebels oppose Yemen's close alliance with the United States and officials say the group wants to reinstall the Islamic rule that was overthrown in 1962.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, joined the U.S.-led war on terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. cities. The rebels are not linked to al Qaeda.
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