Army claims to make gains against Houthis in N. Yemen

30 Houthi rebels killed in northern Saada province, Yemeni army sources assert
MAARIB, Yemen: At least 30 Houthi rebels have been killed in fierce fighting in Yemen’s northern Saada province, long considered a Houthi stronghold, according to Yemeni army sources.
Early Friday, the army’s September Net website quoted Obaid al-Athla, who commands the army’s Saada front, as saying that army forces had “recaptured the Al-Atfain region and other areas near the Saada Heights”.
“At least 30 Houthi militants were killed in the fighting, while a number of heavy weapons were captured,” he said.
Al-Athla went on to assert that numerous rebel vehicles had been destroyed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes.
Another Yemeni army source told Anadolu Agency that three military personnel, including a colonel, had been killed in the fighting in Saada.
Houthi spokesmen, for their part, have yet to comment on the army’s assertions.
In a related development, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr said Wednesday that the army stood “on the cusp of victory” in Yemen’s western Al-Hudaydah province, which is home to a highly strategic seaport.
The veracity of bin Daghr’s claim, however, remains unclear until now.
Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies — launched a massive campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
The violence has devastated Yemen’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.–AA

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