Al Mukalla: Yemen’s Ministry of Defence has said that as many as 145 Al Houthi militants have been killed in fierce fighting with government forces or by air strikes since the beginning of this month.
In a statement carried by its official website, 26sepnews.net, the ministry said that 75 Al Houthis were killed in the northern city of Medi where the Iran-backed militia have suffered heavy setbacks since government forces launched a fresh push to recapture the city.
Eighteen and 10 Al Houthis were killed in a week of fighting or heavy air bombardment in Sana’a Nehim and Marib’s Serwah respectively.
The rebels also suffered 22 deaths in the southern city of Taiz despite more than three years of siege and arbitrary shelling of the city that claimed lives of hundreds of civilians.
Brigadier General Abdu Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesperson, told Gulf News on Sunday that the figures show that the once powerful movement has been depleted by deaths and attrition despite their attempts to prove they are still taking the offensive on the battlefield.
“They are suffering setbacks on many fronts.” Majili said.
Al Houthis do not usually release military casualty figures in order not to further diminish low morale.
The minister’s figures are similar to numbers released by local media outlets.
On Sunday, Al Masadr Online, an independent news site, released the names of 40 Al Houthis from the northern province of Hajja who were killed in a week of fighting.
Quoting a local source, the news site said the Al Houthis were killed in battles with government forces or by air strikes in Medi city in Hajja and the number of deaths does not include dead Al Houthis in other provinces.
More than 200 Al Houthis were also injured in the same city since early last week.
Meanwhile in Nehim district, just outside of Al Houthi-held Sana’a, fighting broke out on Sunday when Al Houthi militants mounted an attack to recapture hilly positions from government forces in Al Madfoun, Al Qatab and on Al Manara mountain, Majili said.
The clashes come as militant jets from the Saudi-led coalition intensified air strikes against Al Houthi military reinforcements and locations in Hajja, Taiz, Jawf and Shabwa.
The Ministry of Defence also said several Al Houthi militants and loyalists were killed in clashes in Bouqa region in Saada province, Al Houthi heartland.
Government forces have been in control of two border crossings with Saudi Arabia in Saada since October last year and are pushing forward to take control of rugged areas in the province.
Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi came to power in early 2012 after massive Arab Spring protests ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Hadi was forced to decamp to the city of Aden after escaping Al Houthi-imposed house arrest after the rebels took over the government in a coup in 2014.
Since then, Hadi has shifted government headquarters to Aden from where he has led an offensive to liberate Al Houthi-occupied territories.
With help from the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the Yemeni army has achieved widespread gains in many provinces, but Al Houthis still control the capital, Sana’a, and most northern provinces including Hodeida, Ibb, Mahweet, Yareem, Amran, Baydha and Hajja.