AL-MUKALLA: At least 100 Houthis have been killed in heavy fighting with government forces outside the central Yemen town of Marib over the past day as Iran-backed rebels continued their assaults for retake the strategic city, local officials and media said on Monday. .
Backed by massive air support from Arab coalition warplanes, Yemeni government troops and tribal fighters launched counterattacks on Houthi positions south of Marib on Sunday in an effort to push back militias from strategic locations in out of town and take control of new areas.
Heavy fighting raged between the two sides from Sunday to Monday near the Al-Balaq Al-Sharqi mountain range and surrounding areas, killing at least 100 Houthi fighters, including a military leader on the ground. .
“The national army has taken control of three strategic hilly sites near Al-Balaq Al-Sharqi and cut supply lines to the pockets of the Houthis,” a military official told Arab News by telephone, shortly. long after his return from the raging battlefields of Marib.
“What I can say is that we have managed to count the bodies of at least 100 Houthis killed in the past 24 hours.
To pave the way for their forces to advance, the Houthis fired around 25 ballistic missiles at government-controlled areas and stepped up drone and mortar attacks outside Marib.
“The Houthis hysterically bombarded our forces with 25 ballistic missiles. Coalition fighter jets intercepted and destroyed two of the missiles in the air, ”the official said.
The bombing did not help the Houthis achieve further gains on the ground, as government troops held firm in their positions and killed waves of Houthi fighters.
West of Marib, eight Houthis, including a field chief, were arrested and many other militia members were killed when government troops repelled the attacks.
Local army officials said Arab coalition warplanes carried out dozens of air sorties on Monday in support of government troops on the ground, targeting Houthi military reinforcements and locations outside the city. by Marib.
In February, the Houthis renewed a military offensive to retake the oil and gas-rich town of Marib, the last government stronghold in the north of the country.
In neighboring Shabwa province, hundreds of Giant Brigades soldiers were deployed to the oil-rich province ahead of an expected offensive to dislodge the Houthis from the Bayhan, Al-Aid and Ouselan districts and to ease military pressure on them. government troops in Marib province.
A long convoy of military vehicles carrying fighters and military equipment was seen leaving positions along the country’s west coast and heading towards the town of Attaq, the provincial capital of Shabwa.
In November, the Arab coalition announced the redeployment of troops to Hodeidah province as part of a new strategy to bolster government troops fighting the Houthis.
In Riyadh, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered Shabwa’s new governor, Awadh Mohammed Al-Wazer Al-Awlaki, who was sworn in before the president on Monday, to work to unify political and tribal forces and mobilize the efforts to expel the Houthis from areas of the province.
Separately, the Yemeni government on Monday called on the Lebanese government to contain the military activities of Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the war-torn country amid an influx of fighters, military experts and weapons from from Lebanon.
“We ask about the position of the presidency, the government, the political forces, the elites and the brotherly Lebanese people regarding the aggression carried out by the Hezbollah militia against Yemen,” the Yemeni information minister said. , Culture and Tourism, Muammar Al-Eryani. Twitter.
“We renew the call to the brothers in Lebanon to declare a clear position on the aggression of the Hezbollah militia, to exert real pressure to withdraw its experts and fighters, to stop the smuggling of weapons to Yemen and to prevent the land use. and the capacity of the Lebanese state to support the Houthi militia.
The Yemeni government’s criticism of Hezbollah’s activities in Yemen came a day after the Arab coalition revealed to reporters a video showing Hezbollah experts training Houthi fighters in the use of bomb-rigged drones.