Fierce fighting between government troops and by Arab coalition airstrikes in flashpoint areas outside Yemen’s central city of Marib, has ledto the killing of at least 80 Iran-backed Houthi militia fighters.
New clashes erupted in Al-Kasara, Mashjah, Helan, Jabal Murad and Rahabah on Monday and Tuesday when hundreds of Houthi fighters attacked government troops with the hope of advancing toward Marib city.
“The national army’s artillery fire and the Arab coalition warplanes have managed to exterminate almost 20 waves of Houthi fighters in Marib. We counted the bodies of 81 dead Houthi strewn all over the battlefields,” Col. Yahiya Al-Hatemi, director of Yemen Army’s military media, told Arab News.
He said the coalition’s warplanes killed a large number of Houthi fighters and destroyed military equipment before they reached the battlefields in Marib.
“The warplanes have carried out 43 air raids in Al-Kasarah and Rahabah during the past 24 hours. We could see Houthi vehicles burning before reaching us,” he said.
The latest fighting in Marib began in February when the Houthis resumed a major military offensive to seize control of the energy-rich city, the government’s last stronghold in the north.
Despite the continuing Houthi military pressure in some battlefields, Al-Hatemi said loyalists mounted counterattacks on the Houthis in Marib province on Monday night, scoring limited advances with the help of the coalition’s air support. “We carried out feigned retreats in some areas and attacked the Houthis in others,” Al-Hatemi said.
Despite suffering heavy losses and a series of defeats on the battlefields, the Houthis have rejected local and international calls to halt their offensive on Marib and engage positively with peace efforts to end the war.
Less intensive heavy fighting also broke out on Tuesday in the western province of Hodeidah when the Houthis renewed assaults on government forces.
The Joint Forces, an umbrella term for three major military units on the western coast, said the Houthis, who regrouped forces and brought in reinforcements, attacked locations in Hays district on Tuesday, triggering fierce clashes that ended hours later when the militia retreated after suffering casualties.
The same district witnessed heavy fighting between government forces and the Houthis last week as the militia sought to seize control of new areas.
Also in Hodeidah, 17 civilians, including women and children, were injured on Monday when a land mine planted by the Houthis exploded in the rural area of Attuhayta district. The victims were returning home from a wedding when their Toyota pickup drove over the land mine, triggering the explosion.