At least three Yemeni soldiers and two Shiite Houthi rebels were killed on Saturday in their clashes in northern province of Amran, officials said. The clashes broke out at a government military checkpoint in the northern entrance of Amran, about 50 km north of the capital Sanaa, when the rebels insisted to enter the city with heavy weapons to take part in a demonstration to demand the resignation of the national coalition government. Officials said several others from both sides were wounded in the clashes, adding that the rebels also besieged Amran's other entrances. Last week the Shiite rebels overran Juhaif Mountain and Hamdan area, some 20 km northwest of Sanaa, after week-long battles with resident tribesmen and soldiers. More than 20 people were killed during the fight. The Shiite Houthi group have seized several towns in northern provinces of Hajja, al-Jaw and Amran after deadly fighting with Sunni tribal residents over the past months. Sectarian conflicts have been expanding in Yemen's northern provinces since the eruption of protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. Houthi rebels and their rival Sunnis have participated in a UN- backed national dialogue which concluded in January. The Yemeni parties agreed to reshuffle the cabinet, draft a new constitution, form a federal state and prepare for presidential elections. The sectarian conflicts intensified last October, as clashes in Dammaj, Saada province, left more than 850 people dead. The government brokered a ceasefire agreement in January between the rival groups and evacuated around 15,000 Sunni families from Dammaj town. Shiite rebels have controlled the northern Saada province since they signed a ceasefire deal with the government in August 2010, ending a six-year intermittent war.